I’ve been bearish on the platform from the start — as have you, as has everyone — but not in my wildest dreams did I think it would flame out this quickly.

It launched on March 29. It barely lasted three weeks!

They paid Chris Wallace millions to make the jump from Fox News to be the face of this platform.

Warner Bros. Discovery is shutting down CNN+ and is expected to provide details Thursday, according to two people familiar with the matter, marking one of the company’s first significant maneuvers since completing the merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery less than two weeks ago.

Spokespersons for CNN and Warner Bros. Discovery could not be reached for immediate comment. The decision puts an end to a venture that people familiar with the matter say rankled David Zaslav, the new CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, from the start. Zaslav was annoyed by the decison of Jason Kilar, the former CEO of WarnerMedia when it was owned by AT&T, to launch CNN+ just weeks before Discovery was set to take over operations.

Shall we do a brief history of our coverage of CNN+? Perhaps a hint that today’s news was coming might be found in the headlines.

March 30: “Report: One day after launch, CNN+ already preparing for layoffs?”
April 12: “Here we go: CNN+ already set for “big cuts” after few consumers subscribe following launch”
April 19: “Uh oh: Parent company suspends all external marketing for CNN+, lays off CNN’s CFO”

That last post is especially worth reading as it cites an Axios item describing the intense annoyance at Warner Bros. Discovery, CNN’s new owner, that the platform went live before the merger between Warner Bros. and Discovery was complete. The new company has a lot of debt and is looking to cut costs where it can; the last thing it needed was the launch of an untested new streaming platform whom no one but Jeff Zucker saw the value in. Obviously CNN and Warner Bros. should have postponed the launch until after Discovery had decided whether it could afford to follow through with it. Instead, apparently trying to force Discovery to support CNN+, they went ahead with the launch anyway.

Essentially, CNN was saying to Discovery, “You wouldn’t dare shut down this very expensive streaming service after it’s already broadcasting, would you?” Well, guess what.

Stand by for updates. It’s an historic fiasco. A question for now: They have to move Chris Wallace over to CNN now, right? They’re not just going to eat his contract while getting nothing out of him.

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