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CNN shifts production of key shows out of Asia, ‘single digit’ staff cuts to follow

Moving to Hong Kong: Ivan Watson

Moving to Hong Kong: Ivan Watson

Rolling news channel CNN has announced that it is to up the volume of live news coverage to its weekday schedule and reposition Asia as a newsgathering and feature programming hub.

But the channel is to phase out the production of programmes CNN Newsroom and CNN NewsCenter from its APAC hub in Hong Kong, although both shows will continue to run.

The strategic rethink, which sees live weekday news coverage increased by an additional four hours a week, will mean a number of staff changes at the network.

The first of which will see senior international correspondent Ivan Watson move from Turkey to Hong Kong. Anchor Kristie Lu Stout will continue to present evening prime time news from Hong Kong, but the rest of CNN’s live programming will be produced from CNN Center in Atlanta.

A CNN spokesman told Mumbrella: “As a result of this change we anticipate a net impact of current personnel in Hong Kong to be in the single digits while at the same time there will be around two dozen more positions at CNN International across the globe.”

The strategy is part of a new focus on regional prime time news. CNN is also relaunching its business programming offering, which includes contributions from anchor and correspondent Andrew Stevens in Hong Kong, and increasing the frequency of its sports show, CNN World Sport.

Tony Maddox, the long-time EVP and MD of CNN International, said in a press release: “These changes represent a significant enhancement of the network with ‘live’ news programming as the schedule’s beating heart. We are making these changes from a position of strength as the leading international news network, home to some of the world’s finest journalists. This programming schedule is built firmly on the needs and interests of our viewers, and gives them even more of what they come to us for.”

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