Powerpuff Girls shocked. Image: Cartoon Network.

Is Cartoon Network Shutting Down? Cartoon Network Studios and Warner Bros. Animation Merger, Explained

This week saw 82 Warner Bros. employees get laid off on Tuesday, with 43 further vacant positions no longer planned to be filled. These 125 positions make up 26% of the company’s entire workforce of scripted, unscripted, and animation employees.

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While these layoffs were somewhat expected, a second announcement soon afterwards on Wednesday offers even more clues for what Warner Bros. Discovery’s animation units will look like in the future. Specifically, one part of the company’s “strategic realignment” will completely change the structure of Cartoon Network Studios.

Chairman Channing Dungey informed staff via a company-wide memo about plans to merge Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network Studios, fully consolidating its tv animation sectors. From now on, Sam Register will head up both divisions, as well as Hanna-Barbera Studios Europe.

Is Cartoon Network Ending?

Cartoon Network will not be shutting down, but its existence seems to be continuing in name only. With one person in charge, the day-to-day operations of all three studios are expected to be aligned, with decisions affecting all three in the same ways.

Namely, CNS will no longer have any independent say on creative or operational matters, a first for the studio responsible for shows like Adventure Time, The Powerpuff Girls, and Ben 10.

For example, both development and production at WBA and CNS will now be merged, building on the existing collaborations between teams such as programming, casting, legal, and business affairs, and artist relations.

In terms of what we can expect from CNS moving forward, it could spell a decline for new and original productions. WBA is more known for its IP-driven shows, such as Looney Tunes Cartoons, Harley Quinn, Justice League Action, and The Tom and Jerry Show.

If the shift for all three studios moves towards this catalog-focused menu of shows, as Warner Bros. boss David Zaslav has previously hinted, it will be hard for Cartoon Network to continue the same original output that we’ve gotten used to over the years.

That means that, while CNS might still be around in name, the original content that fans know and love from the studio might be on its way to extinction.

(featured image: Cartoon Network)

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