Warner Bros. Layoffs Result In More Cuts for WB TV Group

Warner Bros. Discovery has gone through another round of layoffs according to The Hollywood Reporter, with Warner Bros. Television Group "the hardest hit" by the "cost saving measures." The trade reports that 26% of the employees at WBTV were let go, a total of 82 employees that were laid off and 43 vacancies that were eliminated. They go on to reveal that the lay offs weren't exclusive to one department and effected "all forms of creative at the studio." Among the biggest areas effects by the layoffs are the closure/conclusion of Stage 13, the digital short program created in 2017, and the Warner Bros. Television Workshop program, a writer/director program that developed new talent at the studio. Cuts to other branches of WBD, including the Warner Bros. Film division, are reportedly still on the horizon. 

In a memo to staff, WBTV boss Channing Dungey writes: "As many of you have already learned, some of our treasured colleagues will be leaving the company because of restructuring and realignment within our group. This was strictly a business decision, made as thoughtfully and compassionately as possible by studio leadership. But understanding that doesn't make this moment any easier. These colleagues are more than just people with whom we've worked, they are part of our work family. We spend more time together than we do with most other people in our lives. Because of that, this loss is painful and difficult. For those impacted by the changes, I want you to know how grateful I am for your contributions – in some cases, spanning decades – and how deeply sorry I am."  

The biggest changes to the various WBTV departments is largely the consolidation of units into one, the Unscripted branch for example will see creative development and programming moved together. Animation as well is also streamlining how it conducts business. Another major change at WBTV is the departure of senior executive Brooke Karzen, who elected to step down from her position, having worked in Unscripted Television and shepherded The Bachelor franchise for years. THR notes that her decision to leave wasn't due to the layoffs.

"These are challenging times in the world at large, and a tumultuous time in our industry," Dungey added. "For this kind of change to hit so close to home is incredibly difficult. But my hope is that these changes, made with an eye to a more focused business strategy, will strengthen and stabilize our company, maintain our great creative output, and better position us for continued future success."

Another noteworthy element of THR's reporting on the ever-evolving situation at Warner Bros. Discovery is one that directly relates to what the WBTV division is handling. According to the trade talks are still underway about the eventual consolidation of HBO Max and Discovery+ into one streaming service, apparently what the eventual name for the service will be is still being considered. Sources reveal that "HBO" could still be part of the brand name but an all-new name remains a possibility. 

(Cover Photo by AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images