Over the past year, Tribune Media had been in the midst of a massive digital effort that would turn Tribune.com into a new national news site. It had hired experienced staff and had even begun the P.R. rollout for the site's April 25th launch.
But Tribune.com was only part of the company's digital initiative, which included the new entertainment site Screener.com as well as an upcoming relaunch of the popular television commentary site Television Without Pity, which had been acquired from NBC Universal after it had been shut down in 2014.
But all of those plans changed Wednesday afternoon when all Tribune Media employees received an email from interim CEO Peter Kern announcing "another step in our digital review process." Those changes included pulling the plug on the as-yet-unlaunched Tribune.com, as well as laying off the staff at ScreenerTV.com. Screener TV launched in October after Tribune retired its site Zap2It. It was also announced the company had decided not to relaunch Television Without Pity.
Tribune Media was created in 2014 when Tribune Publishing split itself into two parts. Tribune Publishing ended up with the newspaper assets of the company while Tribune Media ended up with the company's television properties and most of its digital assets.
Tribune Media interim CEO Peter Kern is a managing partner at InterMedia Partners, a private equity firm focused on investing in media companies. He's led the company since then-CEO Peter Liguori stepped down last May. At that time, Tribune Media announced plans to begin shedding some of its non-television assets, which include WGN America as well as a 39 local television stations and a 31% ownership stake in the Food Network.
Those television assets also appear to be up for sale, with Reuters reporting in March that rival Sinclair Broadcast Group had approached Tribune Media proposing a merger.