TruTV is laying off most of its marketing and programming staffers, who will receive severance packages as part of exit deals similar to those at other units of WarnerMedia. The company has been streamlining and consolidating since AT&T acquired Time Warner for $81 billion in 2018. The restructuring accelerated in February, when the federal government ended its pursuit of an antitrust lawsuit seeking to block the merger.
Deadline has confirmed the truTV departures are close to 50, or nearly 40% of the network’s workforce. The departments are not shutting down completely, with small programming and marketing teams to remain when the network team joins other New York divisions next week at WarnerMedia’s new HQ in Hudson Yards.
Kevin Reilly Reups WarnerMedia Contract, Adds TruTV Oversight; Chris Linn Exits
The confirmation of the layoffs on Tuesday, first broken by Variety, comes after WarnerMedia parted ways with TruTV president Chris Linn, who exited May 16 after six years at the network. He had overseen a rebrand as a comedy network with a distinct point of view that spawned series including I’m Sorry, Adam Ruins Everything, At Home with Amy Sedaris, The Carbonaro Effect and Tacoma FD. Linn also acquired Billy on the Street, which earned the network its first Emmy nomination in 2017.
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Since Linn’s exit, virtually all the network’s top execs left — EVP and Head of Programming Marissa Ronca, EVP Marketing and Digital Puja Vohra, SVP Originals Angel Annussek and SVP Production Nancy McKenna among them — at least some via voluntary buyouts.
Linn’s departure came as Kevin Reilly, president of TBS, TNT and Chief Creative Officer Turner and Direct-to-Consumer, signed a new four-year deal that expanded his portfolio to add truTV, the last remaining network from the former Turner Broadcasting System.
The majority of TruTV’s remaining employees are expected be integrated into a new organizational structure that Reilly is expected to unveil in the coming weeks.
WarnerMedia’s restructuring across all its divisions has includes offering voluntary buyouts — at CNN this month, more than 100 workers took them amid the move to Hudson Yards. Similar offerings were undertaken at HBO and Turner as WarnerMedia parent AT&T is looking to restructure and reduce what was $170 billion in net debt as of the end of 2018.
At the WarnerMedia upfront presentation two weeks ago, Reilly presented a vision for close cooperation between WarnerMedia’s linear networks including truTV and the company’s upcoming streaming platform.
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