EXCLUSIVE UPDATED: It seems like there is another wave of belt-tightening at NBCUniversal. I hear the company has been imposing layoffs across the various TV divisions of the company. The layoffs started two weeks ago with Los Angeles-based personnel, with New York-based employees getting pink slips today. (NBCU’s LA-based film studio, Universal Pictures, also was hit with layoffs about two weeks ago, when it let go of 25 employees.) I hear the cuts, which don’t appear to be very deep, are the result of a corporate decision and virtually all networks are affected to some extent including NBC; Syfy; USA; G4, which recently cancelled two long-running shows, E! and Bravo. At some networks, the layoffs involve as few as a handful of employees.
I hear the movie and TV layoffs are part of a company-wide headcount reduction, which is affecting about 1.5% of NBCU’s 30,000 workforce (as many as 500 employees). I’ve learned that the individual divisions were not given a target number of layoffs they had to hit but rather asked to eliminate any inefficiencies and overlap as year’s end nears.
NBCU already underwent a round of cost-cutting following the Comcast merger. The trimming has continued quietly behind the scenes, occasionally bubbling over, like the recent budget cut on NBC’s The Tonight Show, which I hear was one of the first major moves in the current wave of cost-cutting. The news comes as NBC is making inroads this fall, climbing from fourth to first place in the ratings. I’ve learned that NBC’s layoffs do not affect its creative departments. Reps for NBCU declined comment.