Cartoon Network Studios dispels shutdown rumors amid parent company’s layoffs

Arianne Gonzalez, Arts & Culture Editor

Cartoon Network Studios assured fans that it will continue airing after layoffs at Warner Bros. Discovery Inc. insinuated the program’s shutdown

Rumors of its demise began to spread since the news of the animation studio’s merger with Warner Bros. Animation, which is a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Discovery. Channing Dungey, the chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. Television Group, disclosed that there is a “strategic realignment” within the company, according to a memo he gave Deadline.

Essentially, this means that the development and production teams will work across both Warner Bros. Animation Inc. and CNS.

Sam Register maintains his position as president of both divisions, as well as Hannah-Barbera Studios Europe. The latter will be maintained as a separate team, according to the memo. All three divisions already share teams responsible for artist relations, casting, current programming,  legal and business affairs.

Changes in leadership will also be put in effect. Audrey Diehl will lead a kids and family series development team, Peter Girardi will lead adult animation development, Sammy Perlmutter will be at the head of animated longform series development, with Bobbie Page leading main production.

The structural changes ultimately came with a 26% cut in the company workforce. This totals to 125 less employees — 82 of them laid-off, while the other 43 are positions left vacant.

Recent layoffs include a cut of 14%, or 70 positions, in August from HBO and HBO Max and a cut of 100 employees from Warner Bros. Discovery of the company’s advertisement sales department. The layoffs are part of the effort to cut costs by $3 billion, according to Variety.

After the news broke, the hashtag “#RIPCartoonNetwork” trended on Twitter, causing major concern for fans of the studio. CNS soon dispelled the rumor on its social media pages, confirming that the merger does not mean its disappearance.

“Y’all we’re not dead, we’re just turning 30,” CNS tweeted, with a smiling emoji. “To our fans: We’re not going anywhere. We have been and will always be your home for beloved, innovative cartoons[.] More to come soon!”

A representative for CNS also told Fox News that the layoffs at Warner Bros. are not reflective of the studio’s total job cuts.

“In 2023, Cartoon Network is slated to premiere more new and returning originals than at any other time in its history and much of that content will also be available to audiences on HBO Max,” another representative provided in a statement.

The network’s “going away is categorically false,” according to the statement, and the studio will merely continue under the leadership of Warner Bros. Television.

“We are not going anywhere,” the statement concluded.

CNS will continue to produce original content for Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and HBO Max, according to Variety. This comes as HBO Max pulls away from adult animation. HBO Max pulled multiple animated titles, as the platform merged with Discovery +.

Cartoon Network is known for shows like “Over the Garden Wall” and “Adventure Time.”

Originally known as “The Cartoon Network,” it debuted in October 1992, while the animation and production arm of CNS launched in 1994, according to Complex. CNN founder Ted Turner purchased Hanna-Barbera productions in 1991 and made Betty Cohen the inaugural president.

The current consolidation of the production and development teams is a continuation of the thread of changes within Warner company since it officially merged with Discovery Inc. earlier this year, under the leadership of CEO David Zaslav.