EXCLUSIVE: Crown Media Family Networks had a round of staff cuts yesterday.
“As part of a restructure to realign roles and responsibilities, some positions were eliminated,” the company said in a statement to Deadline. “This was done in an effort to decrease redundancies, optimize effectiveness, and create more support level roles.”
The company would not comment on the number or size of layoffs involved. According to sources, about 20 employees were impacted in Media Operations, On-Air Promotion, Research and Administration. The list is said to include long-term Crown Media employees who have worked more than 20 years at the company. Staffers tell Deadline that at the start of the pandemic a year ago, the company had indicated that there would be no layoffs for the duration of the health crisis.
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The restructuring comes seven months after Crown Media underwent a leadership change, with Wonya Lucas named president and CEO, succeeding Bill Abbott.
She took on responsibility for the strategic direction, daily management and growth of the three linear networks—the Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries and Hallmark Drama—as well as the company’s digital platforms and subscription streaming service, Hallmark Movies Now. Wonya has since built a senior leadership team with the hires of Lara Richardson as Chief Marketing Officer, Robin Thomas as EVP of Research and Annie Thomas Howell as Chief Communications Officer. Additional hires are expected, bringing the headcount close to pre-layoffs levels.
Crown Media has been able to navigate the pandemic with an accelerated schedule, delivering 66 original movies, including a slate of 40 new original holiday movies, across theHallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries.
Earlier this month at TCA, Lucas gave a progress report on Hallmark’s efforts to increase on-screen representation in the channels’ movies.
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