AT&T continued its Turner consolidation, issuing layoffs to less than 50 staffers in the programming and marketing departments at cable network TruTV, according to people familiar with the company.
TruTV issued pink slips to virtually its entire programming and marketing department — some staffers will remain as the transition to the broader WarnerMedia Entertainment Group continues. Variety, which first broke the news of the layoffs, said affected workers would receive severance packages.
TruTV’s operations will be housed within the broader unit headed by TBS, TNT and TruTV president Kevin Reilly. Reilly, who also is chief content officer of WarnerMedia Entertainment’s direct-to-consumer business, signed a new four-year deal with WarnerMedia earlier this month, which included oversight of TruTV.
According to people familiar with the company, bringing the three networks together and under one management team allows Turner to continue to attract top creative talent, maximize audience delivery and value creation and it also eliminates arbitrary programming silos.
In a memo to employees, Reilly said the affected workers were notified of the layoffs Monday and thanked each one for their contributions to the company.
"Additional organizational changes and our specific management structure will be announced in the coming weeks," Reilly said in the memo. "But all of our various teams will continue to operate out of their current locations in New York, Atlanta and Los Angeles, expanding our footprint and giving us important representation in all three of these creative centers."
The layoffs come less than a month after TruTV president Chris Linn exited the company, followed by EVP and head of programming Marissa Ronca and marketing and digital EVP Puja Vohra. Brett Weitz, who oversees TNT and TBS programming, is expected to add TruTV to his responsibilities.
Here’s Reilly’s memo in its entirety:
To: WarnerMedia Colleagues
From: Kevin Reilly, President of TBS, TNT and truTV, and Chief Content Officer, WarnerMedia Direct-to-Consumer
Subject: Organizational Update
I want to take a moment to share with you my intention to combine the management structure for TBS, TNT and truTV – as part of our integration at WarnerMedia Entertainment.
I strongly believe that bringing these networks together will allow us to maximize their potential and keep these important businesses vibrant for years to come. The combined power of the platforms, managed by one incredible executive team, will enable us to continue attracting top creative talent and maximizing audience delivery and value creation.
As with any restructuring, there are close colleagues whose lives are impacted – and these decisions are never, ever easy. Those who are personally affected by this restructure were notified today, and I want to thank each and every one of them for all that they have done for our company. They are enormously talented and hardworking professionals, and I know that all of us will continue to show them the utmost respect, appreciation and support throughout this transition.
In particular, I want to thank Chris Linn and all of the truTV staff and executives for their tremendous contributions to truTV’s success, and convey my deep appreciation for those who will be staying with us during a transitional period to ensure a seamless management changeover.
Additional organizational changes and our specific management structure will be announced in the coming weeks. But all of our various teams will continue to operate out of their current locations in New York, Atlanta and Los Angeles, expanding our footprint and giving us important representation in all three of these creative centers.
This is a new era for TBS, TNT and truTV. From now on, these networks will not be bound by the artificial constraints of programming genres or brand positions that may limit our ability to showcase our programming to the fullest. We have incredible resources at our disposal – the combined strength of WarnerMedia and AT&T – and we’ll use every resource in our arsenal to maximize delivery, audience connection and value for each of our networks. Of course, all built on a foundation of content that our audiences love.
Change is never easy. But as we transform, our networks will continue to be places where we can all be proud to work. I certainly am, every day.
Thank you for being a part of this team. I couldn’t be more excited about all that lies ahead.