Cable News Network dropped the hammer Wednesday, announcing the
termination of 400 employees and the replacement of the network heads for CNN
Headline News, CNNfn and CNN/SI.
The cuts -- which CNN described in a press release as 'the introduction of
new operating efficiencies' -- have been anticipated since December.
One-third of the employees getting pink slips will come from CNN Interactive,
another third from its programming department and the remainder from different
areas of the company, CNN said.
The company named Ken Jautz, former managing director of German all-news and
financial channel n-tv, executive vice president and general manager of CNNfn.
He succeeds Shelby Coffey, who resigned as president of CNN Business News and
CNNfn Tuesday after just 14 months on the job.
CNN News Group executive vice president Teya Ryan was named executive vice
president and general manager of Headline News, succeeding Bob Furnad, who
announced his retirement Friday.
CNN/SI's No. 2 executive, Steve Robinson, was named head of the sports-news
channel succeeding Jim Walton, who was promoted to president of CNN Domestic
Networks last summer. Robinson, Ryan and Jautz will report to Walton.
The network said it is moving its Web sites and cable networks under a single
The cuts cap a rocky year for CNN, which saw the resignation of president
Rick Kaplan in August. The network has also seen its once-dominant position in
the all-news race slip, as upstart Fox News Channel has often beaten the
20-year-old network in primetime in recent months.
CNN executives planned to hold a conference call with reporters Wednesday
afternoon to discuss the cuts and programming changes.
Among those changes is the shifting of its Street Sweep business
program, which will be cut from CNN and run only on CNNfn.
The network recently moved to a personality-driven news-program strategy,
giving several members of its on-air talent -- including Bill Hemmer, Wolf
Blitzer and Greta Van Susteren -- their own shows.
CNN veteran Elsa Klench, host of the network's Style program, has also
resigned. Her program was cut from the lineup, along with Showbiz
CNNfn on-air talent made light of the cuts Wednesday morning, poking fun at
their company's demise. 'At least until the new guy gets here, I guess we can do
what we want,' anchor Jack Cafferty cracked.
The network also appeared to be having some production problems Wednesday
morning, which Cafferty pointed out. 'Look at that sign. Isn't that a piece of
garbage?' he said of a graphic CNNfn ran Wednesday.