Cartoon Network Studios assured fans it will continue to broadcast after being laid off from Warner Bros. Discovery Inc. insinuated that the program would be discontinued
Rumors of its demise began to spread since news of the animation studio’s merger with Warner Bros. Animation, a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Discovery. Channing Dungey, the chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. Television Group, revealed that there is a “strategic realignment” within the company, according to a memo he gave to Deadline.
Essentially, this means that the development and production teams will work within both Warner Bros. Animation Inc. as CNS.
Sam Register will retain his position as president of both divisions, as well as Hannah-Barbera Studios Europe. The latter will be maintained as a separate team, according to the memo. All three divisions already share teams responsible for artist relations, casting, current programming, legal and business matters.
There will also be changes in leadership. Audrey Diehl will lead a development team for children’s and family series, Peter Girardi will lead adult animation development, Sammy Perlmutter will lead full-length animated series development, and Bobbie Page will lead the lead production.
The structural changes ultimately led to a 26% reduction in the company’s workforce. This amounts to 125 fewer employees, of which 82 were laid off, while the remaining 43 are vacancies.
Recent layoffs include a 14% cut, or 70 jobs, in August from HBO and HBO Max and a 100 cuts from Warner Bros. Discovery of the company’s advertising sales department. According to Variety, the layoffs are part of efforts to cut costs by $3 billion.
After the news broke, the hashtag “#RIPCartoonNetwork” became trending on Twitter, causing great concern among fans of the studio. CNS quickly dispelled the rumor on its social media pages, confirming that the merger doesn’t mean it will disappear.
“You’re not dead, we’re just turning 30,” CNS tweeted with a laughing emoji. “To our fans, we’re not going anywhere. We are and will always be your home for beloved, innovative cartoons[.] More coming soon!”
A CNS representative also told Fox News that the layoffs at Warner Bros. not reflect the studio’s total job losses.
“In 2023, Cartoon Network is expected to premiere more new and returning originals than ever before in its history and much of that content will also be available to the public on HBO Max,” another representative said in a statement.
The “leaving of the network is categorically wrong,” the statement said, and the studio will continue as normal under the direction of Warner Bros. television.
“We’re not going anywhere,” the statement concluded.
CNS will continue to produce original content for Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and HBO Max, according to Variety. This is because HBO Max is withdrawing from adult animation. HBO Max pulled multiple animated titles when the platform merged with Discovery+.
Cartoon Network is known for shows like “Over the Garden Wall” and “Adventure Time.”
Originally known as “The Cartoon Network,” it debuted in October 1992, while CNS’s animation and production arm launched in 1994, according to Complex. CNN founder Ted Turner bought Hanna-Barbera productions in 1991 and made Betty Cohen the inaugural president.
The current consolidation of manufacturing and development teams continues the thread of change within Warner Company since it officially merged with Discovery Inc. earlier this year, led by CEO David Zaslav.