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Warner Bros. Discovery Let Go Of Diversity Lead Amid Cost-Cutting

Karen Horne's departure raises concerns about the future of DEI initiatives in media companies.
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Here’s everything you need to know about the world of television from Friday, June 30th, 2023 heading to the long weekend.

“There won’t be a newsletter on Monday and Tuesday due to the long 4th of July holiday weekend (sorry to all of you outside the U.S.). To be honest, there’s not even much going on today,” said Too Much TV Newsletter. 

If something big happens, I’ll send out a newsletter. But otherwise, I’ll see you again on Wednesday. There will be plenty of new stuff on AllYourScreens this weekend, and I’ll link to all of it on Wednesday.

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The Friday before a long holiday weekend is a favorite time for companies to announce some piece of news they hope no one will notice. So given that, it’s a not big surprise to learn today that Warner Bros. Discovery has let go of its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion U.S. Lead Karen Horne.

The move is important in part because Horne played a big role in one of WBD’s bigger public relations blunders in 2002.

“As part of a larger group of cuts, we are shutting down the long-running Warner Brothers Television Writers and Directors Workshops,” said Discovery last October in an announcement. The move was widely criticized in the industry, in large part because the programs had become a pipeline for under-represented voices in the industry to develop the skills and connections to secure jobs after graduation. The move was also criticized by the DGA, which noted the program was mandated by the DGA collective bargaining agreement.

Several days after the decision was announced, Warner Bros. Discovery reversed itself, announcing the programs would continue and would be housed within WBD’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) unit, in partnership with WBTV. They would be overseen by Horne, who just lost her job.

“Her departure was not part of the cost-cutting but rather a rethinking and reorganization of the company’s diversity organization. Warner Bros. Discovery’s chief global diversity, equity, and inclusion officer, Asif Sadiq, remains,” said Megan Klein a spokesperson for the company as she confirmed Horne’s exit to the LA Times

The Macy’s 4th of July fireworks show lights up the sky next to the Empire State Building in New York City on July 4, 2022, as seen from Union City, New Jersey. No newsletter is expected on Monday and Tuesday due to the long 4th of July holiday weekend, said Too Much TV newsletter. GARY HERSHON/GETTY IMAGES

It’s worth noting that as media companies continue to cut costs, one target has been DEI initiatives, which are seen as important, but not vital, since they don’t generate direct revenue. 

Walt Disney Co. chief diversity officer LaTondra Newton recently left the company after six years. And at Netflix, inclusion and diversity initiatives lead Verna Myers recently announced she will be leaving the company in September.

Disney-owned cable net Freeform announced on Friday that it is canceling two of its scripted shows: the rookie series The Watchful Eye and Single Drunk Female (which ran for two seasons).” These two cancellations leave the linear network with a handful of original productions, including the final season of Grown-ish, scripted originals Good Trouble, Cruel Summer, the upcoming While You Were Breeding, and the animated comedy Praise Petey, said The world of Television. 

* Am I Actually The Strongest? (Crunchyroll)
* Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & The Secret Hideout The Animation (Crunchyroll)
* Ayaka (Crunchyroll)
* Brandi Carlile: In The Canyon Haze – Live From Laurel Canyon (HBO)
* Buried In The Backyard Season Premiere (Oxygen)
* Horimiya: The Missing Pieces (Crunchyroll)
* My Tiny Senpai (Crunchyroll)
* My Professor’s Guide To Murder (Lifetime)
* The Incredible Dr. Pol Season Premiere (NatGeo Wild)

* Bull Shark Bandits (NatGeo)
* Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation (Crunchyroll)
* Saved From A Shark (NatGeo)
* Shark Eat Shark (NatGeo)
* Tough As Nails Season Premiere (CBS)

* Bull Shark Vs. Hammerhead (NatGeo)
* Malevolent Spirits: Mononogatari (Crunchyroll)
* Masamune-Kun’s Revenge (Crunchyroll)
* Return Of The White Shark (NatGeo)
* Sweet Reincarnation (Crunchyroll)
* Unknown: The Lost Pyramid (Netflix)
* When Sharks Attack 360 (NatGeo)

* Macy’s 4th Of July Fireworks Spectacular (NBC)
* The Girl I Like Forgot Her Glasses (Crunchyroll)
* The King Who Never Was (Netflix)
* Tom Segura: Sledgehammer (Netflix)

* Back To 15 (Netflix)
* CMA Fest: 50 Years Of Fan Fair (Hulu)
* Human Footprint (PBS)
* Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire (Disney+)
* My Happy Marriage (Netflix)
* Orangutan Jungle School Season Three Premiere (Smithsonian)
* Reborn as a Vending Machine, I Now Wander the Dungeon (Crunchyroll)
* Shadow Detective (Hulu)
* Shark Below Zero (NatGeo)
*Sharkano: Hawaii (NatGeo)
* The Clearing Season Finale (Hulu)
* Undead Murder Farce (Crunchyroll)
* Wham! (Netflix)

Produced in association with AllYourScreens

Edited by Judy J. Rotich and Newsdesk Manager

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