I’m told about 40 mostly producers and writers among the 200 in-house producing staff at TV Guide Network got pink slipped by Lionsgate yesterday. And another 35 or so freelancers in the studio/post/crew/operations group were also let go or had their hours cut back drastically. Yet zero employees on the executive floor were axed. “The managers say it wasn’t because of the economy or because the channel is losing money. It’s actually making money. It’s apparently a plan designed to make way for (or make money available for) acquisitions in the new ‘Lionsgate Era’,” an insider points out to me. “And what is the first big ‘genius’ acquisition approved by Lionsgate to ‘relaunch’ the network? The syndicated version of Ashton Kutcher’s Punk’d. Which has already run in syndication. Several times. And we hear they bought 4 theatrical movies to run — 3 from Lionsgate’s library, of course — and they are all big box office stinkers. And the movies are gonna run above the TV Guide listings ‘scroll’ because that’s how you want to watch a movie, on half the screen. That’s worth 70-80 people’s jobs?”
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