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CNN’s Biggest Stars Are in for a Rude Awakening

via Bravo
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CNN’s boss Mark Thompson is planning a digital-first transformation for the network by reducing anchor salaries, which currently exceed $50 million.

Insiders report he plans to drastically cut salaries, including those of top-paid anchors Anderson Cooper ($20M), Wolf Blitzer ($15M), Jake Tapper ($8.5M), and Chris Wallace ($8M), as their shows average under a million viewers while competitors like Fox News and MSNBC gain market share.

Thompson intends to move morning shows back to CNN headquarters, appoint a new digital executive, and model the successful independent digital operations of Megyn Kelly, Piers Morgan and Tucker Carlson.

Rich Greenfield, a tech analyst at LightShed Partners, said, “The first thing they need to do is dramatically reduce costs.”

“If you work at CNN your compensation is going to go down dramatically over the next…five years, there’s just no other way around it,” he continued.

Greenfield said, “It’s not like CNN will lose their talent, there’s nowhere to go that would pay that much.”

Thompson aims to revamp CNN into a U.S. version of the BBC and is looking to cut costs, potentially impacting high-earning anchors like Anderson Cooper and Wolf Blitzer.

Thompson reportedly wrote, “We need to recapture some of the swagger and innovation of the early CNN.”

“It’s time for a revolution,” his employee memo continued.

He added that “there’s currently too little innovation and risk-taking,” at the company.

The network is facing low ratings compared to competitors like Fox and MSNBC, prompting a shift towards digital models.

Executives are being brought in to drive this transformation, focusing on developing future news anchors who can thrive in digital and social media platforms.

The future of CNN lies in balancing its digital and linear TV presence, with a focus on creating content that resonates with digital audiences.

David Clinch, co-founder of Media Growth Partners, said, “The only way to get even close to the salary levels that network anchors used to demand is to have the ability to produce content and value across broadcast, digital and streaming.”

“But there are models like revenue/profit share and even licensing that clever agents might be asking for their clients from now on,” he continued.

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