TV Land Hit By Layoffs As Viacom Consolidates And Looks To Cut Costs

Not a happy day at TV Land: It was just hit by an undisclosed number of layoffs largely in PR and marketing as part of parent Viacom’s broad effort to cut costs.

The entertainment giant “is making changes in three of our domestic network groups, creating two new organizations,” it said today in confirming the TV Land cuts. “Today’s changes are part of the process of realigning our resources to meet the new needs of these organizations.”

Viacom has consolidated its channels into two groups: Doug Herzog oversees the Viacom Music and Entertainment Group while Nickelodeon’s Cyma Zarghami is in charge of the Viacom Kids and Family Group — which includes TV Land. Last month the channel’s president, 27-year vet Larry Jones, left.

CEO Philippe Dauman told analysts in January to expect “substantial net cost savings throughout our organization” which has about 10,000 employees, adding that he would “pull all the levers.” The company’s stock price is down 19.8% over the last 12 months as it grappled with falling ratings. TV Land has been especially hard hit, with ratings off about 26% so far this season.

Some analysts wonder whether a major pay TV distributor might drop its channels including MTV, Nickelodeon, BET, and Comedy Central, although Dauman has assured the Street that Viacom has more growth opportunities than risks.

Still, it’s a volatile time for the company. Last week Paramount Film Group President Adam Goodman left. Also last month Van Toffler, President of MTV Networks Music & Logo Group at Viacom, departed after 28 years with the company.

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