The top executive changes at Viacom are spreading to the company’s Entertainment Group. On the heels of yesterday’s surprise announcement by MTV Networks Music & Logo Group President Van Toffler that he would be be leaving after 28 years, TV Land President Larry Jones, a 27-year Viacom veteran, stunned his colleagues this afternoon by announcing his imminent departure in an internal memo.
During the Q4 earnings call a couple of weeks ago, Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman said he expects to see a “substantial net cost savings throughout our organization” as a result of a restructuring that includes an “organizational realignment as well as rationalization of content that no longer meets our goals.” Jones’ departure is believed to be part of that realignment, with an announcement expected tomorrow. Viacom has been going through rough times, with its shares depressed following the Q4 results, in part because of declines in domestic ad revenue.
Jones’ abrupt departure comes just as TV Land is going through a major makeover, moving away from traditional sitcoms into edgier, single-camera fare. The first of the new breed of TV Land originals, Darren Star’s single-camera comedy Younger, premieres March 31. Here is Jones’ email to staff:
To My TV Land Family,It’s truly not an overstatement to say that I have loved every second of being at TV Land for the past 18 years as part of my 27 years with Viacom. With that said, due to the restructuring, I will be stepping down from my role with the company.I am so proud of the work we have accomplished over the years and especially excited about the new initiatives we have coming up on TV Land. The channel is on the verge of amazing things and I’m constantly impressed by the team of people who have worked tirelessly to make it all happen. This has been so much more than a job to me and as I have often said to all of you, I always felt we were on a mission… a mission to be successful, to be creative and to make something that we could all be unapologetically proud of each and every day. It’s that mission that made it so easy to come to “work” everyday and be with all of you and for that, I thank you.I am so happy to have been a part of the great legacy of this network. The great thing about television and all the platforms we now exist on is that I will be able to watch you every step of the way as you continue on the mission…Peace.L