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CNN+ facing steep cost cuts as new management takes helm

CNN’s new streaming service CNN+ is under review by incoming corporate parent Warner Bros. Discovery as it looks to cut costs and reorganize the company, sources told The Post. Warner Bros. Discovery, which formed last week out of the merger between Discovery and WarnerMedia, is in the process of shoring up at least $3 billion in cost savings in 2023, and it’s focusing on CNN+. As part of its review of CNN+, which has roughly 150,000 subscribers, WBD is suspending all external marketing spend, according to a report from Axios entitled “CNN+ looks doomed.” The publication said CNN’s original plan to become profitable in four years by investing $1 billion in the service is being “knee-capped,” citing plans to eliminate high-level positions across WarnerMedia. This includes potentially replacing Chris Cuomo’s 9pm ET primetime slot with a “live newscast, instead of personality-driven perspective programming.” A spokesman for WBD declined to comment. Cuomo was fired from CNN in February after being suspended for advising his brother, then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo, how to dodge his own sexual harassment accusations. The anchor sued CNN for $125 million, calling his termination “the epitome of hypocrisy.” Cuomo also claimed that CNN’s habit of making “exceptions” to its rules “began at the top” with former CNN president Jeff Zucker and former chief marketing officer Allison Gollust, who both resigned under pressure last month for failing to disclose their affair.” Zucker was replaced with Chris Licht, an executive producer with stints at CBS’s “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, “CBS This Morning” and MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” He starts the job on May 1, and is expected to focus CNN’s report more on hard news than opinion-based programming, sources told ThePost. Aside from general cost cutting, WBD CEO David Zaslav has been vocal about combining its various streaming services in one place and building it around HBO Max, a fact that could jeopardize continued investment in CNN+, source told The Post. Under previous ownership, CNN+ execs were hoping to attract 2 million subscribers in the first year and 15 to 18 million over dour years, Axios said. Roughly $300 million has been spent and hundreds of jobs have been created to support the streaming service to date.

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