Saturday, June 12

Layoffs Underway At Walt Disney Television Group Following Sweeping Restructuring – Deadline

Walt Disney’s Television Group is set to cut a significant swathe of roles following its major restructures over the past few weeks. Deadline understands that the cuts are happening Thursday in the General Entertainment unit of the Mouse House, which is run by Peter Rice.

This morning, Radio Disney said its was ceasing operations, which is believed to be part of the cuts.

The news comes days after Dana Walden, who is Chairman of Entertainment, Walt Disney Television, unveiled a sweeping restructure of the business that saw Hulu’s SVP Content Craig Erwich take oversight of the ABC network and ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke take on a new role as president of 20th Television. Rice announced the realignment of his division last month.

The layoffs were expected given the consolidation across the entire General Entertainment area. For instance, Disney TV Studios has gone down to two divisions, 20th TV, run by Burke, and ABC Signature, headed by president Jonnie Davis. 20th TV is the combined operation of 20th Television and Touchstone Television, with the cable/streaming-focused studio being folded into Burke’s group. The latter, which was formerly known as Fox 21, saw the departure of Bert Salke, who is transitioning to a multi-year overall producing deal.

The move meant there was a number of roles that have been duplicated across the division.

It is the latest round of layoffs across Disney. ESPN cut 500 jobs last month and there are also cuts taking place at Disney’s film studio division including at Searchlight Pictures and its feature film studio marketing group.

Disney said last week that a total of 32,000 employees, mainly in its Parks, Experiences and Resorts division — including 28,000 already announced — will be terminated by March.

Disney is not alone in making swinging cuts. WarnerMedia has cut hundreds of jobs, a process that CEO Jason Kilar said last month was “painful” but “critical,” and NBCUniversal is cutting a number of roles after bringing together its television and streaming services under one unit. Sony and Lionsgate are among other studios to have also made cuts.

Covid-19 has exacerbated the process but much of the redundancies have come as part of broader, strategic moves to deal with a future focused on streaming and digital strategies.

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