82 employees, or 19% of the studio’s workforce, received pink slips from Warner Bros. Television Group on Tuesday across its scripted, unscripted, and animation divisions. It has also chosen not to fill 43 other open posts, for a total reduction of 125 employees (or 26% of the estimated 481 staff).
Although the chairman of Warner Bros. TV Group, Channing Dungey, declined to comment, it is said that he briefed personnel on several changes, including varying degrees of consolidation in unscripted and animation.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the company has also terminated the Warner Bros. Television Workshop, which had served as a platform for emerging writers and directors for many years, as well as Stage 13, a shingle specialising in diverse short-form programming, which resulted in the departure of Stage 13 head Diana Mogollón.
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The cost-cutting measures within Warner Bros. Discovery, which combined in April and has since tried to fulfil its commitment to slash expenses by $3 billion, included the latest cost-cutting measure, which was predicted, to be layoffs. Additionally, it occurs only two years after a prior round of layoffs under the WarnerMedia brand reduced the staff of Warner Bros. by at least 650 individuals.
More recently, in August, WBD cut over 70 people from HBO and HBO Max, or 14% of the workforce, as the firm gets ready to combine HBO Max and Discovery+ into one streamer. The hardest damaged categories included unscripted programming, scripted family and children’s fare, casting, foreign, and acquisitions.
A further 100 employees were let go by WBD in September as part of the company’s restructuring of its ad sales departments. As stated on Tuesday, Dungey’s direct reports and the umbrella departments that fall under the Warner Bros. TV Group name are still in place, but there has been greater consolidation.
In the non-fiction sector, Mike Darnell is still in charge of Warner Bros. Unscripted Television and will continue to answer to Dungey; Darnell will also continue to oversee Warner Horizon Unscripted Television, Telepictures, and Shed Media as independent shingles.
However, following Brooke Karzen’s departure from Warner Horizon Unscripted TV, which was announced on Monday, some programming and creative development will now be shared between Warner Horizon and Telepictures. (Warner Horizon productions are subject to union rules, although Telepictures is typically exempt from them.)
Bridgette Theriault and Dan Sacks will now lead Warner Horizon in Karzen’s place, while David McGuire will continue to oversee Telepictures and Shed Media will be run by Lisa Shannon and Dan Peirson. Following the 2020 layoffs, the unscripted programming physical production, business affairs, and financial departments were already integrated amongst Warner Horizon, Telepictures, and Shed Media.
Shed Media is anticipated to generate and produce additional content for the Discovery networks as a result of the Warner Bros. and Discovery merger, while overall Warner Bros.’s unscripted operations will continue to sell to external platforms and establish formats for worldwide as well.
Sam Register will continue to be in charge of Warner Bros. Animation, Cartoon Network Studios, and Hanna-Barbera Studios Europe in the animation industry. These three brands will still exist, however, Warner Bros.
Animation and Cartoon Network Studios’ development and major production teams will now combine (while Hanna-Barbera Studios Europe will maintain a separate team). The present programming, casting, legal/business affairs, and artist relations teams for the three shingles already worked together.
Under the new structure, Audrey Diehl will be in charge of the development team for children’s and family series, Peter Girardi will be in charge of adult animation development, Sammy Perlmutter will be in charge of animated long-form series development, and Bobbie Page will be in charge of the main production.
In spite of the modifications, Cartoon Network Studios will continue to create unique animated content for internal channels like Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, and HBO Max. Additionally, there will be a renewed emphasis on creating content for other platforms and third-party networks as HBO Max moves away from adult animation. The emphasis at Warner Bros. Animation is largely on IP and pre-existing characters.
With no significant institutional changes other than the closure of Stage 13, Warner Bros. TV President Brett Paul, who is also directly under Dungey, continues to focus on the written side (which comes as the company decides to no longer invest in short-form production). The merger of Warner Bros. TV and Warner Horizon Scripted TV in 2020 brought about the most significant shift to scripted television.
Warner Bros. TV will probably cut back on the number of writer deals it offers as well as the number of series and pilots that are produced by broadcasters as networks are more likely to cut back on primetime programming and The CW adjusts its focus under new ownership.
Warner Bros. TV is still striving to be a significant provider of programming, initially for its own sister platforms (the studio presently has 15 scripted and unscripted series with HBO Max, in addition to more than 20 animated projects).
On “Ted Lasso,” which it produces for Apple TV+, and “Abbott Elementary,” which it produces for ABC, Warner Bros. just won Emmys. More than 120 series are currently in production at Warner Bros. for more than 20 distinct platforms across its scripted, unscripted, and animated divisions.