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Warner Bros. Television’s massive job cuts worsen WBD’s diversity problem

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Warner Bros. Television is laying off 82 of its employees, making up around 19 percent of its workforce, according to reports from Deadline and Variety. The studio has also chosen not to fill 43 open positions — making up 125 (or 26 percent) of its jobs in total — with those in unscripted, scripted, and animation most affected.

Warner Bros. is also shutting down its long-time writers’ and directors’ workshops

In addition to layoffs, The Hollywood Reporter says that Warner Bros. Discovery is shuttering its writers’ and directors’ television workshops after 40 years. The workshops were often an avenue for emerging writers and directors from underrepresented backgrounds to break into the industry, with alumni including Luke Cage producer Akela Cooper and Only Murders in the Building director Jude Weng. Warner Bros. Discovery is also doing away with its short-form digital content studio, Stage 13, which has produced works like Netflix’s Special, a series that follows a gay man living with cerebral palsy.

“These are challenging times in the world at large, and a tumultuous time in our industry. For this kind of change to hit so close to home is incredibly difficult,” Channing Dungey, the Warner Bros. Television CEO, writes in an internal memo to employees obtained by Deadline. “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.”

Diversity at Warner Bros. Discovery has already taken a hit due to the studio’s layoffs, and the elimination of its workshops and Stage 13 only adds to that. Warner Bros. Discovery already cut Batgirl, a film led by Leslie Grace, a woman of color, along with a number of animated series, like Cartoon Network’s Infinity Train, which features a number of characters of color, as well as Summer Camp Island, a series that has characters who are members of the LGBTQ-plus community.

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