Layoffs Hit Cartoon Network and Warner Bros: Cartoon Network Studios, the animation house that created such classics as Samurai Jack, The Powerpuff Girls, Adventure Time, and Over the Garden Wall, is getting crushed, along with the rest of Warner Bros.
Warner Bros Layoffs
Discovery. On Tuesday, October 11, Warner Bros. TV Group chairman Channing Dungey sent a very dungy memo to employees, announcing 82 layoffs and that 43 vacant positions will not be filled. This elimination of 125 jobs amounts to a 26% reduction in the company’s scripted, unscripted, and animation divisions.
Cancelation of Incubator Programs
The memo also announced the cancellation of incubator programs for new original talent, including Stage 13, the Warner Bros. Writers’ Workshop, and the Warner Bros. Directors’ Workshop. (On Wednesday, the company announced the Writers Workshop and Directors Workshop would instead be housed within the company’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion unit.)
On the animation front, the memo states that WB is “implementing a new streamlined structure in which the development and main production teams will now work across both Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network Studios.”
After the Warner Bros. Discovery merger, WB Animation head Sam Register also assumed control over CN Studios. For decades, the studio held a reputation for developing original works from emerging talents. The new structure means more resources will be split between the studios (teams like casting, artist relations, and legal already were).
WB Animation will continue to focus on wringing endless value and reboots from existing, nostalgic IP, while CN Studios’ will produce continue to produce original cartoons for CN, Adult Swim, and HBO Max. In May 2022, Register told Vulture that “Having a suite of studios allows us to have a different strategy when we talk to talent: ‘Do you love Scooby-Doo? Do you love Looney Tunes? You can do that. Do you have your own original idea? Well, we have a studio for that, too.’”
Earlier in the year, Register expressed a commitment to developing new pilots through the Cartoon Cartoons anthology shorts program.
Upcoming Original Projects
Upcoming original projects include Unicorn: Warriors Eternal and Invincible Fight Girl. Since president and CEO David Zaslav assumed control of the megamerger Warner Bros. Discovery, he has canceled a number of animated projects, including CN Studios projects like Driftwood, and pulled CN Studios titles including Infinity Train and Summer Camp Island from streaming on HBO Max.
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