Jeff Zucker to CNN Staff: ‘We Expect That the Majority of You Will Not Be Able to Return to Our Offices This Calendar Year’

By A.J. Katz Comment

In a memo to CNN staff, WarnerMedia News and Sports chairman and CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker said “the majority” of CNN employees will be working from somewhere other than the network’s offices for the remainder of 2020.

“We expect that the majority of you will not be able to return to our offices this calendar year,” he wrote in the memo, obtained earlier by THR. “What happens after that is still a question mark, as well. No doubt the world, and our understanding of the way Covid-19 continues to shape our lives and our work, will change countless times between now and then. But I know it is important as you all make decisions for your own lives and your families that you are equipped with the most honest and transparent information we can give you.”

CNN hasn’t commented yet.

In April, Zucker told staffers that the majority of them “will not be returning to the office in any significant way any time soon … with a few exceptions in July for newsgathering and some in August, depending on the political conventions.”

Zucker added that roughly 15% of CNN employees are working from the office, with “a few more” returning to the office in the next few weeks.

“When you consider physical distancing requirements, we simply cannot put the same number of people back into our workspaces that were there before the pandemic. So we need to make some tough decisions,” Zucker wrote. “We intend to spend the summer months hearing from all of you, and doing our best to balance the physical needs of our spaces with our production needs, as well as your preferences. And nothing happens without putting safety first. All of that will be taken into account as we make decisions about how and when we make the slow return back.”

Concerning the New York-based sports operation, Zucker said “there will likely be some changes” to where sports employees are physically located “when we have a sense of league schedules in the summer months.”

It remains to be seen what the other networks will do. We hear that Fox News is targeting a June 15 return date. CBS, on the other hand, hasn’t had any of its staffers in its offices at all in recent months, as the CBS Broadcast Center has been closed since mid-March after multiple staffers who worked in the building tested positive for Covid-19, causing the company to close the building entirely.

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