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Cartoon Network Studios Will Be Absorbed By Warner Bros. Animation In A Troubling Turn Of Events

It's a sad week for people at Cartoon Network as Warner Bros. reportedly announces the official merging of Warner Bros. Animation (WBA) and Cartoon Network Studios (CNS) following a massive wave of layoffs at both studios (via Deadline). The heartbreaking news was made public on Wednesday, September 12, just one day after the reported cuts got handed down. According to Deadline, roughly 26% of the Warner Bros. Television workforce was let go right before the merger. At least 82 employees were said to have been fired and a total of 125 positions are expected to be lost in total, per Variety

The merger and layoffs come as Warner Bros. Discovery continues to try and find ways to save money following the WarnerMedia and Discovery, Inc. team-up earlier this year. HBO and HBO Max have both been hammered already by cuts, with 14% of staff, or around 70 people, getting let go in August 2022. In a company-wide memo sent out ahead of the Cartoon Network and WBA merger, Warner Bros. Television chairman Channing Dungey provided an alleged explanation for why the move was happening. 

Warner Bros. Television says its going through a 'strategic realignment' of the company

According to chairman Channing Dungey, Warner Bros. Television is just trying to streamline things and make more strategic decisions when it comes to its animation studios (via Deadline). He wrote in his company-wide memo: "We are 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." Earlier in the note, Dungey said: "This was strictly a business decision, made as thoughtfully and compassionately as possible by studio leadership." 

While the merger is a major blow to Cartoon Network Studios, Variety reports that it won't have any effect on its original animated programming or shows for Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, and HBO Max. Cartoon Network art director David DePasquale was reportedly calling people out on Twitter Wednesday who were implying otherwise (via ComicBook.com).

"[Twitter users] sensationalizing it and guiding people to extrapolate that CNS is basically dead is really s****y," DePasquale tweeted. "Especially for those of us who still have a job there." While things will apparently stay intact for now, there is still the lingering possibility that third-party networks and other platforms can get projects produced by Cartoon Network Studios in the future. 

"These are challenging times in the world at large, and a tumultuous time in our industry," Dungey told Warner Bros. Television employees. "For this kind of change to hit so close to home is incredibly difficult. But my hope is that these changes, made with an eye to a more focused business strategy, will strengthen and stabilize our company, maintain our great creative output, and better position us for continued future success." 

With the Warner Bros. nightmare set to continue, who knows what the future now holds for its other creative properties and studios. Only time will tell.