Tuesday saw the termination of 82 staff members across scripted, unscripted, and animation at Cartoon Network Warner Bros. Television Group (WBTVG), while the company has decided not to fill another 43 open roles. The 125 jobs accounted for 26 percent of the total workforce in those departments.
Even while layoffs were widely anticipated, they do not convey the entire picture of what is happening in the animation departments at Warner Bros. Discovery. In reality, an even more significant statement was made yesterday, which will have far-reaching effects on the projects produced by Cartoon Network Studios in the future. As part of its “strategic realignment,” the corporation has announced this change.
Cartoon Network Has A Shaky Future
The company’s chairman, Channing Dungey, recently announced in a company-wide letter that Warner Bros. Animation (WBA) and Cartoon Network Studios would be merged into a single entity (CNS). Even though Hanna-Barbera Studios Europe will remain separate from WBA and CNS, Sam Register will remain at the helm of all three companies going ahead. The document states that all three designations will persist, but maybe just in name. WBA and CNS have decided to combine their development and production processes, expanding the cross-studio teams currently working on programming, casting, legal and financial issues, and artist relations.
That bodes poorly for the future of fresh Cartoon Network productions. In the past, CNS has been the studio responsible for releasing original programs and specials that sometimes become touchstones for decades of viewers, whereas WBA has focused mostly on catalog/IP-driven projects. A lot of animation fans may not have completely grasped the gravity of yesterday’s revelation, but many in the industry realized the immensity of the news and its implications on the future of Cartoon Network Studio and, by extension, Cartoon Network.