EXCLUSIVE:: A big new wave of post Viacom-CBS merger layoffs started today. ViacomCBS is not commenting beyond the note sent this morning by CEO Bob Bakish\, but according to sources, layoffs are said to be across the entire organization.
As Deadline reported earlier this afternoon, the Entertainment & Youth division has been hard hit, with Sarah Babineau, Head of Comedy Central Content & Creative Enterprises, among a slew of executives impacted as the group is undergoing integration.
Over at Nickelodeon, I hear Sharon Cohen, EVP, The Nick Experience, and a Viacom veteran of more than 20 years, is leaving, along with her group whose focus had been expanding the Nickelodeon brand and its franchises beyond their linear and digital platforms through on-the-ground, real-world experiences.
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In the era of coronavirus and social distancing, that type of public, in-person social-interaction-based activities have been suspended for the foreseeable future. Some of the initiatives Cohen and her team shepherded included Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana, the globally PAW Patrol Live tours; and Nickelodeon SlimeFest, Nick’s U.S. multiday music festival.
Related to that I hear executives in Nick’s live events department also have been impacted. A rep for ViacomCBS had no comment.
In his email to staff this morning, Bakish spoke about the company’s continuing efforts “to integrate and streamline our operations, manage our costs as diligently as we can, and follow through on our committed post-merger synergy targets.”
“Throughout this transformation, we want to be as supportive of our employees as possible, particularly given the circumstances we’re in,” he added. “Some of us are saying goodbye to incredible team members and friends – people who have made lasting contributions to the success of our company and have enriched our culture. I want to assure you that we are focused on making their transitions easier at this time, while supporting the needs of all our employees and their families.”
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