Home Production company Production company RT America ceases operations due to backlash from Kremlin-funded media

Production company RT America ceases operations due to backlash from Kremlin-funded media


Most of T&R’s employees, who are spread across multiple locations in the United States, will be laid off, he said. “We deeply regret and understand the uncertainty this action will cause our valued employees,” he wrote.

Solodovnikov’s note was first reported by CNN and the Daily Beast. Earlier Thursday, network host Holland Cooke broke news of the disarray at RT America in a column for industry trade publication Talkers, writing the company’s brass told staff during a meeting Thursday that the network had “been cancelled, via cable/satellite/online distribution platforms.

T&R began operating studios and producing English-language programming for RT America in the summer of 2014, according to a 2017 Justice Department summary of the company’s filing under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. . The statement signaled T&R’s centrality to RT America’s operations in the United States, noting that it “hired and paid all RT employees based in the United States.”

Representatives for RT America did not respond to inquiries Thursday afternoon.

RT – which originally stood for “Russia Today” – was launched by Vladimir Putin in 2005 as his response to global media networks like CNN, with outlets in several Western countries, including the United States, sharing the perspective of the Kremlin on world events.

In the United States, RT America recently covered Russia’s bloody invasion of Ukraine as a minor incursion intended for defensive purposes, drawing growing criticism.

On Tuesday, cable television distributor DirecTV cut ties with the network. “Consistent with our previous agreement with RT America, we are accelerating the expiry date of this year’s contract and will no longer offer their programming effective immediately,” a spokesperson said. On Thursday afternoon, Dish is the only major cable company to carry RT America in the United States.

The network has also faced defections from key talent, including comedian Dennis Miller, who NBC News says will stop doing his talk show. The show, “Dennis Miller + One”, began airing in March 2020.

Actor William Shatner produced 70 episodes of a show for production company Ora TV, which later sold it to RT America. But in recent interviews, he expressed his support for the Ukrainian people and suggested he would not do business with the network beyond his contractual agreement. He told The Daily Beast that, as far as he knows, all Ora TV productions for RT America have been shut down. “I await with trepidation what will happen but my total sympathy goes to Ukraine,” he said.

While RT America’s viewership in the United States is difficult to quantify and was likely modest, the network received significant distribution via the amplification of social media posts by conservative media companies.

“The goal of RT is for Russia to fight the West and democratic values ​​on the cheap,” said Robert Orttung, a professor of international relations at George Washington University who has researched the company. “It’s easier to pay for this kind of divisive media coverage than to build an army equal to that of the United States and its allies.”

Still, his formwork makes sense in this climate, he added. “With the sanctions weighing heavily on the Russian economy and state revenues, the Kremlin will reduce its most unproductive assets.”

In his column, Cooke defended the integrity of RT America.

“I was never censored and never handed over a script,” he wrote, praising his “more than 100 enthusiastic and intelligent colleagues with whom I really enjoyed working in a bustling broadcast center , beautiful and lavishly equipped, two blocks from the White House., with an amazing high tech coffee machine.”

Paul Farhi contributed to this report.