CNN is planning to discontinue its CNN Airport Network in March.
Network president Jeff Zucker made the announcement in a memo to staff. The memo said there had been a “steep decline” in the need for the airport network because the Covid-19 pandemic has dramatically decreased air travel.
“The steep decline in airport traffic because of COVID-19, coupled with all the new ways that people are consuming content on their personal devices, has lessened the need for the CNN Airport Network,” Zucker wrote. “Having to say goodbye to such a beloved brand is not easy … I am sure most of us have a story to tell about which airport we were at when we first learned of a major news event,” he added.
The CNN Airport Network launched almost 30 years ago in January 1992. According to a report, the network “is aired in 58 airports across the US and it includes 24/7 news programming from CNN and HLN, as well as entertainment programming from sister channels such as Cartoon Network, TBS and HBO.”
It is unclear how many employees will be affected by the discontinuation of the network, or whether they will transfer to CNN or be dismissed.
According to a Vanity Fair report, “The timetable still hasn’t been confirmed, but there’s talk in the upper ranks of WarnerMedia that Zucker is expected to leave CNN in the first quarter of 2021, according to someone familiar with the matter. It wouldn’t happen before the inauguration, sources said, and one person close to Zucker cautioned that nothing’s a done deal and ‘a final decision has not been made.’ Zucker has more than a year left on his current contract, I can confirm. He last re-signed late in the spring of 2018, as I reported at the time, in a deal that locked him in through the election.”
Zucker told the outlet, “People say all the time, ‘Oh, I don’t want to talk about Trump. I’ve had too much Trump. And yet at the end of the day, all they want to do is talk about Trump. We’ve seen that, anytime you break away from the Trump story and cover other events in this era, the audience goes away. So we know that, right now, Donald Trump dominates.”