Television Networks Cutting Salaries As Viewership Plummets

With cable news viewership declining, prominent television networks have begun considering cutting the salaries of television personalities to save money.

Networks such as CNN and Fox News will soon be unable to negotiate multi-million-dollar contracts since television executives won’t be able to pay such a massive sum as the industry declines.

Several top television hosts have garnered a massive amount of money and are paid millions yearly. MSNBC host Rachel Madow, for example, has an annual salary of $40 million.

Fox News host Sean Hannity has raked in millions and is estimated to make $25 million annually, while CNN’s Anderson Cooper has a salary ranging from $20-25 million.

The Post Millennial pointed out that multiple cable news networks make most of their revenue through advertisements and affiliate fees. Such profit has dwindled in past years because of distrust in mainstream media and individuals seeking alternative news sources. Mediaite reported that the number of Americans paying for cable television has significantly dropped.

CNN CEO Mark Thompson was shocked at the amount of money that television personalities are paid in the U.S. The CNN executive previously worked at the BBC and the New York Times, where salaries are much lower than U.S.-owned cable news stations.

Since taking over the network, Thompson has been finding ways to reduce costs. Initially, he removed ex-CNN personality Chris Licht’s morning show, “CNN This Morning,” because of failing ratings. As a result, Licht and his production staff were left without a job.

“The trend is to get rid of people with big salaries and replace them with people they can pay considerably less. You can see it on air and off air,” a source familiar with the matter told The Ankler.

The Wrap reported that Thompson wishes to “fund his digital-first transformation by cutting anchor salaries.”

In past years, massive layoffs have taken place in many high-profile mainstream companies, including Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, CBS News and ABC News.

Thompson’s approach could extend to other media executives. “The business model is evolving: they’re looking at all costs including talent,” a source told Mediaite. The outlet noted that the solution is to reduce costs while profits remain high.