CNN+, the streaming service that was supposed to be a big digital hit for CNN, has been shut down by Warner Bros. Discovery just weeks after its launch.
The service is set to cease operations on April 30.
Chris Licht, the incoming president of CNN, called an all-hands meeting among CNN+ staffers for noon on Thursday to share the news.
The shutdown comes just weeks after CNN+ was launched, with ambitious plans to spend heavily and expand fast. Under its former president, Jeff Zucker, CNN lured big stars to CNN+, including the former “Fox News Sunday” anchor Chris Wallace, the former NPR co-host Audie Cornish and the food writer Alison Roman.
But the service’s fortunes changed abruptly after CNN’s former parent, WarnerMedia — owner of the prestige TV powerhouse HBO and the storied Warner Bros. film studio — completed its merger with Discovery, home to reality TV hits like “90 Day Fiancé” and the home-improvement gurus Chip and Joanna Gaines. Since the merger closed earlier this month, doubts have swirled over the future of CNN+, which was promoted to CNN employees and subscribers as the future of the network.
Executives from Discovery, including its chief executive, David Zaslav, are beginning to impose their designs on the newly formed company, which is called Warner Bros. Discovery, putting in place a new management team and sketching out the contours of a new streaming strategy.
Yikes. Don Lemon didn’t even get his show off the ground.