CNN’s long-term plan is to no longer rely on commissioned projects with outside partners, it was announced by its CEO, Chris Licht, in a memo sent to the company’s staff. The decision was based primarily on the “ever-increasing cost of commissioning third-party premium content.”
With the retreat from commissioning original series and films from outside companies, CNN will look for ways to bring longform production in-house, Licht explained. According to the firm’s CEO, CNN has worked on around 60 documentaries over the past decade and more than 45 series involving third-parties.
Amy Entelis, EVP for Talent and Content Development, has been tasked with exploring how CNN can execute longform content using the global new organization’s in-house resources. “My goal is to find a model that will enable us to bring our audiences this type of programming with greater flexibility,” Licht commented.
Projects commissioned under the CNN Original Series banner include “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown,” “United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell” and “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy.” Feature docs include “Blackfish,” “Apollo 11,” “RBG,” “Dreamland: The Burning of Black Wall Street,” “Three Identical Strangers,” and “Navalny.” In 2023, CNN said it will air a slate of six series and six movies.