After sputtering for five years, AOL Time Warner's CNN/SI (for Sports Illustrated) will shutter by the fall, making room for a new sports channel jointly owned by the media giant and the National Basketball Association.
Last week, about 190 CNN/SI staffers, the bulk of the Atlanta-based operation, were told they'll lose their jobs when the new channel launches. That date's not known yet.
"We hit distribution hurdles we didn't anticipate," said CNN/SI Executive Vice President and General Manager Steve Robinson. "We pushed and pushed, but it was decided a different strategy was needed to acquire the distribution."
CNN/SI currently counts about 20 million analog and digital subscribers.
The new net, tentatively named AOL Sports and to be based in New York or Atlanta, is a cornerstone of a six-year TV deal the two sides are still hammering out.
Some CNN/SI employees will be reassigned to other CNN units; others will have to re-interview for positions with the new net. They'll receive severance pay if they stay on until the relaunch.
The smarter way to stay on top of broadcasting and cable industry. Sign up below.
Thank you for signing up to Broadcasting & Cable. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.