2ND UPDATE, 5:45 PM: About a dozen people were fired today in the Los Angeles office of Nielsen’s NRG. One woman was let go over the phone; she was on vacation when she received a call from personnel telling her not to come back to work. Cold.

UPDATED, 4:45 PM: Six mid-level employees were let go in NRG’s Los Angeles office today. Cheryl Idell still is running the company, and her right-hand manager Tina Wilson is expected to be promoted. As one person said, “It’s unbelievable that management who steered this company into the rocks is still standing.”

PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE, 2:30 PM: National Research Group began laying off employees today as Nielsen prepares the company for a sale. Sources said talks have been ongoing to sell the research unit. In June, Nielsen hired banker Jordan Edmiston to explore a possible sale of NRG, which is one of the largest companies in entertainment that provides market research — that critically important film tracking — to the movie studios. The bank is the same one that was hired in the Marketcast sale last year when RLJ Equity Partners, in alliance with GE Asset Management, acquired Marketast from Shamrock Capital Advisors.

Based in Los Angeles, NRG has offices in the U.K. as well. The company tests everything from promotional materials to movies in test screenings. Today, the L.A. office got hit with a number of layoffs, but we’re not sure of how many people were affected. In fact, it is happening right now as people are being called into personnel and being told that they are being laid off. Of course, the management who drove the company to this point is still intact. Nielsen/NRG would not comment.