WarnerMedia’s CEO, Jason Kilar, has unveiled major restructuring plans concerning the makeup of staffers within the Warner Bros., HBO, and DC Universe operations, per Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. At least 800 employees will be laid off between Warner Bros. and HBO; Warner Bros. is expected to lay off around 650 people and HBO will likely lay off anywhere between 150 and 175 staffers. It is unknown exactly how many staffers will be laid off in the DC Universe unit.
The top programming leaders at HBO Max, including Robert Greenblatt and Kevin Reilly, are expected to be ousted so that Warner Media’s production operations in HBO Max and Warner Bros. can be combined into a single operation. Warner Bros. CEO and Chairperson Ann Sarnoff will take their place and be in charge of developing content for the new combined unit, as well as for TNT, TBS, and TruTV. Andy Forsell, who is the general manager at HBO Max, will be put in charge of the new unit’s business operations.
These layoffs are a result of the double threat of the economic damage done by the coronavirus pandemic and the shift of consumer interest from linear television to streaming television. In addition to WarnerMedia’s Warner Bros. and HBO Max units, WarnerMedia’s DC Universe is also expected to be hit by major layoffs. DC Universe’s Editor-in-Chief, Bob Harris; Senior Vice President of Publishing Strategy and Support Services, Hank Kanalz; Vice President of Marketing and Creative Services, Jonah Weiland; Vice President of Global Publishing Initiatives and Digital Strategy, Bobbie Chase; Senior Story Editor, Brian Cunningham; and Executive Editor, Mark Doyle will all be laid off. Jim Lee will remain as the CEO of DC Universe.
WarnerMedia’s economic difficulties come after AT&T acquired the company, formerly known as Time Warner, for $85 billion in 2018. Since the takeover, many top executives left the company, forcing WarnerMedia to undergo major restructuring.