EXCLUSIVE: The next projected layoffs stemming from NBCUniversal’s recent restructuring are starting next month, sources tell Deadline.
November 12 is penciled in as the target date as company brass are eying mid-next month for the second wave of staff reductions to begin, we hear. The cuts will likely come in waves, one in mid-November and one to follow in late December or early 2021, with as many as 150-300 employees affected.
NBCUniversal’s recently formed Television and Streaming division, led by chairman Mark Lazarus, is expected to take the brunt of the layoffs. The unit was created in a reorganization designed to emphasize NBCU’s focus on streaming. It consolidated all NBCU English-language linear networks into one group, overseen by Frances Berwick on the business side and Susan Rovner on the programming side. (Rovner also oversees programming for streamer Peacock.)
We hear the November layoffs would be concentrated in the business operations overseen by Berwick, who took over the job in early August,
Since Rovner only started at NBCU earlier this month and needs time to assess the existing staff and set up her leadership team, the layoff decisions in her divisions will likely come in late December or perhaps in early 2021.
Contacted by Deadline, NBCU declined to comment on the upcoming redundancies.
NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell confirmed that the restructuring will result in layoffs during parent company Comcast’s second-quarter earnings call in August, but he didn’t mention specifics or a timeline.
As Deadline reported at the time, Telemundo, regional sports networks operated by NBCU, and the theme-park unit were affected in that first wave of layoffs that also reflected COVID-19’s impact on theme parks, live sports broadcasts and other operations. Also paired down in August was a portfolio of “Talk”-branded websites operated by NBC Sports like Hardball Talk and College Football Talk and Pro Football Talk.
Peacock, NBCU’s entrant into the streaming derby, launched in April in Comcast’s cable and broadband footprint and then nationally in July. On the August earnings call, Shell said it had performed better than expected, drawing 10 million sign-ups since launch. The streaming platform and its performance is expected to be a main focus of NBCU’s earnings call tomorrow morning.
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