EXCLUSIVE: Unscripted series producer Critical Content has reduced its full-time staff by approximately 35% in what the company describes as a reorganization which reflects the changes in the marketplace and is focused on growth.
“Our industry is rapidly evolving where TV, digital, and branded platforms are interchangeable, and a unique development point-of-view, combined with best-in-class execution of content make a difference,” Critical Content CEO Tom Forman said in a statement to Deadline. “By becoming nimbler and by further aligning ourselves with the latest crop of next-generation content creators, we will be best positioned to capitalize on the significant opportunities in the non-scripted space. Moreover, Critical Content is committed to providing resources and cultivating strategies that will lead to continued and profitable growth opportunities to these content creators, on whom we rely.”
Affected by the layoffs are EVP of Production Brad Bishop as the company has streamlined the production operations under new Head of Production Jon Beyer; and fellow production executive Brad Carr, who is being replaced by Dana Byal.
Also let go is Critical Content’s full-time casting staff, led by Rebeca Rosichan, as the company is switching from in-house to an as-needed freelance model for casting, line producers and production support positions. I hear additional staff reductions have impacted non-revenue generating back-office operations, including human resources, administration and business affairs.
The capital is expected to be relocated toward growth in the form of ramping up production for digital platform as well as acquisitions. Critical Content, previously Relativity Television, last fall took a stake in UK’s Renowned Films.
The layoffs follow the August exit of Critical Content president Andrew Marcus, who had launched the company in late 2015 amid the collapse of its former parent, Ryan Kavanaugh’s Relativity Media, with backing from MGM investor Anchorage Capital. The split was attributed to differences over the company’s programming strategy, with Marcus looking for a stronger push into scripted series. Led by veteran reality producer Forman, Critical Content instead opted to double down on unscripted fare.
Critical Content’s series slate includes MTV’s Catfish, now in its 7th season, A&E’s The Lowe Files, Fox’s Who Shot Biggie and Tupac and CBS’ The Case of: JonBenet Ramsey, as well as Gigolos (Showtime), Tia Mowry at Home (Cooking Channel), Caribbean Pirate Treasure (Travel Channel), and The Great Food Truck Race (Food Network).
The highly-rated CBS limited series The Case of, which named JonBenet Ramsey’s brother Burke Ramsey as a possible suspect in her murder, has led to a $750 million defamation lawsuit by him against CBS and Critical Content.