Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Monday, March 27th, 2023
CNN's primetime line-up is beginning to resemble the cable news equivalent of "The Producers"
Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Monday, March 27th, 2023.
DISNEY BEGINS ITS CUTS
In a memo sent today to employees, Disney CEO Bob Iger has confirmed the first of three rounds of layoffs is starting this week as the company looks to reduce its workforce by about 7,000 employees:
Dear Fellow Employees,
As I shared with you in February, we have made the difficult decision to reduce our overall workforce by approximately 7,000 jobs as part of a strategic realignment of the company, including important cost-saving measures necessary for creating a more effective, coordinated and streamlined approach to our business. Over the past few months, senior leaders have been working closely with HR to assess their operational needs, and I want to give you an update on those efforts.
This week, we begin notifying employees whose positions are impacted by the company’s workforce reductions. Leaders will be communicating the news directly to the first group of impacted employees over the next four days. A second, larger round of notifications will happen in April with several thousand more staff reductions, and we expect to commence the final round of notifications before the beginning of the summer to reach our 7,000-job target.
The difficult reality of many colleagues and friends leaving Disney is not something we take lightly. This company is home to the most talented and dedicated employees in the world, and so many of you bring a lifelong passion for Disney to your work here. That’s part of what makes working at Disney so special. It also makes it all the more difficult to say goodbye to wonderful people we care about. I want to offer my sincere thanks and appreciation to every departing employee for your numerous contributions and your devotion to this beloved company.
For our employees who aren’t impacted, I want to acknowledge that there will no doubt be challenges ahead as we continue building the structures and functions that will enable us to be successful moving forward. I ask for your continued understanding and collaboration during this time.
In tough moments, we must always do what is required to ensure Disney can continue delivering exceptional entertainment to audiences and guests around the world – now, and long into the future. Please know that our HR partners and leaders are committed to creating a supportive and smooth process every step of the way.
I want to thank each of you again for all your many achievements here at The Walt Disney Company.
And word is already getting out about some of the people who have already received the news they are losing their jobs:
Mark Levenstein, SVP Production for Hulu, and Jayne Bieber, SVP, Production Management & Operations for Freeform, are leaving as Carol Turner, EVP and head of production for ABC Signature, is taking on an expanded role, with Network and Platform production for scripted television across Disney Entertainment getting consolidated under her. 20th Television EVP and head of production Nissa Diederich, and Nick Lombardo, SVP and head of production for FX, will now to report to her.
Additionally, Elizabeth Newman, VP of Development who was based at 20th Television while overseeing Creative Acquisitions for Disney Television Studios, is leaving and the department will be dissolved. Its functions will be absorbed by the studios.
The second round of layoffs, and biggest one, is slated for April when Disney’s TV operations are expected to get hard hit. The third and final round of notifications is expected before the beginning of the summer.
Just one side note. Seeing Iger address his "fellow employees" in his email just feels like a forced effort to make it feel as if everyone is in this together. Iger is no more a "fellow employee" of Disney than any other CEO is a fellow employee of the company they are paid tens (if not hundreds) of millions of dollars to run.
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CNN PLANS TO DOUBLE DOWN ON TERRIBLE PROGRAMMING MOVES
I have been extremely critical - perhaps brutally so - about the changes that have taken place at CNN since the Warner Bros. Discovery merger. Vague talk about becoming "non-partisan," awkwardly executed programming moves and a sense that no one at WBD seems to know what to do in order to move the network in the proper direction. All of which has led to a substantial loss of viewers, especially in primetime. Who could have guessed that audiences would not respond positively to a haphazard mix of interviews, roundtables and town halls?
If you thought that the current ratings slump in primetime would force some reflection on current CNN CEO Chris Licht, well...guess again. The Wall Street Journal reports the network is looking to lower the demo for its primetime audience by hiring 68-year-old Gayle King:
CNN is finalizing a deal for “CBS Mornings” anchor Gayle King to host a weekly prime-time show, according to people familiar with the situation, as network boss Chris Licht experiments with new programming to counter a steep ratings slide.
Ms. King, 68 years old, is expected to begin hosting a once-a-week show this fall, while continuing her duties at CBS, the people said. CNN is also in conversation with former NBA player Charles Barkley about potentially joining a show with Ms. King, they said.
I just can't comprehend this move. In March, CNN is set to post its lowest monthly rating in at least three decades among adults 25 to 54, a key demographic for advertisers. And Licht's go-to answer is to put together a show a primetime anchor duo whose combined age is 128 years old.
And then there is this passage:
Ms. King, a well-known national news figure, would add a familiar face with broad experience to CNN’s lineup. Mr. Barkley, who is outspoken on a range of issues beyond basketball, is already part of the Warner Bros. Discovery family as one of the hosts of the popular “Inside the NBA” program on its TNT channel.
Does anyone believe the problem with CNN is that it doesn't have familiar enough names working as anchors? Cable news networks live and die by what news they decide to put on the air. Yes, anchors can help. But it's a complex piece of chemistry to create a successful show and it's worth noting that the most successful shows in primetime cable news either feature anchors who failed several previous times until they found the right mix (Tucker Carlson) or were relative newcomers who were allowed to evolve their approach (Rachel Maddow). I have difficulty believing the pool of Gayle King superfans who want to watch her do a CBS Morning News take on cable news is large enough to move the dial.
TWEET OF THE DAY
ODDS AND SODS
* Radford Reborn follows "the renaissance of a historic British automotive company helmed by a duo of globally-acclaimed performance vehicle aficionados and their partner and counsel, Roger Behle." It premieres April 14th on the Speedvision FAST channel.
* Young Wallander has been canceled by Netflix after two seasons.
* Variety is reporting that season three of The White Lotus will head to Thailand after two seasons at the Four Seasons resorts in Hawaii and Italy.
* Season two of the documentary series 100 Foot Wave premieres Sunday, April 16th on HBO.
* Season three of The Kardashians premieres Thursday, May 25th on Hulu.
WHAT'S NEW FOR MONDAY:
American Dad! (TBS)
CMT Music Awards Nominee Special (CMT)
Independent Lens: Hidden Letters (PBS)
Like A Girl Series Premiere (Fuse)
Murdoch Mysteries (Acorn TV)
The Young & The Restless 50th Anniversary Celebration (CBS)
2023 iHeartRadio Music Awards (Fox)
Click Here to see the list of all of the upcoming premiere dates for the next few months.
SEE YOU TUESDAY!
If you have any feedback, send it along to Rick@AllYourScreens.com and follow me on Twitter @aysrick.