CBS’ entertainment and news divisions are going through a round of layoffs as part of the restructuring following the merger with Viacom.
The layoffs, which began late Tuesday and continued into Wednesday, come about a month after a round of cuts on ViacomCBS’ cable side that saw the exits of Smithsonian Channel president Tom Hayden and senior Comedy Central executive Sarah Babineau, among others. Pop TV has also been affected.
“We are restructuring various operations at CBS as part our ongoing integration with Viacom, and to adapt to changes in our business, including those related to COVID-19,” a CBS spokesperson said. “Our thoughts today are with our departing colleagues for their friendship, service and many important contributions to CBS.”
In a memo, CBS CEO George Cheeks wrote that the layoffs are a combination of post-merger streamlining, “the ongoing and transformative changes happening in the media business, as well as circumstances from the unprecedented pandemic that we continue to navigate.”
CBS News president Susan Zirinsky wrote in a memo to her staff, “Working with reduced budgets, we have had to make some extremely difficult decisions. I’m sad to report today that some of our colleagues and good friends will be leaving the company. These decisions are particularly painful for our entire organization, which has performed at the highest level during the COVID-19 pandemic, overcoming so many obstacles. But this restructuring is necessary to ensure CBS News remains strong long into the future.”
ViacomCBS has undergone several rounds of layoffs since the merger closed in December. This week’s cuts are the first layoffs on the broadcast side, although a number of executives have departed since the merger.
ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish wrote in an April 29 memo to the company that the cost-cutting measures will help “streamline our operations, manage our costs as diligently as we can, and follow through on our committed post-merger synergy targets.”
Deadline first reported the CBS layoffs.
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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: CBS
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