EXCLUSIVE UPDATED with more names, refresh for latest: Details are starting to emerge about the major round of layoffs Tuesday at Paramount Global impacting about 800 employees in the U.S.
Headed into today’s reductions, there had been chatter about Paramount TV Studios possibly downsizing. The studio, led by Nicole Clemens, has remained independent from the larger CBS Studios as the two combined support operations in November 2022 by centralizing finance, law, production and casting.
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Paramount TV Studios, which absorbed Paramount+’s scripted originals team in 2022, is now streamlining its programming operations by consolidating development and current under Head of Development Jana Helman, who will continue to report to studio president Clemens.
Leaving are Cheryl Bosnak, PTVS’s EVP and Head of Current; Kate Gill, SVP Development; Julie Katchen, VP of Current; and Devin Crossfield, Manager, Development.
Also departing is PTVS’ SVP and Head of Communications Dominic Pagone, who moved into the role a year ago after five years at Showtime and 18 at FX. CBS Studios and PTVS’ communications operations are now being consolidated under CBS Studios’ EVP Communications Kristen Hall.
Additionally, leaving are Paramount TV Studios’ SVP Strategic Marketing Victoria Chew as well as SVP Post-Production Joseph Berger-Davis along with a coordinator and a couple of assistants in the post-production division.
CBS Studios and Paramount TV Studios’ development/current teams will remain separate.
PTVS established a stand-alone current department in 2019 when former Disney ABC current executive Bosnak was brought in to lead it. The studio’s slate of existing series has paired down in the last few months amid cost-saving content cuts at Paramount+.
All Paramount divisions are said to be impacted by the layoffs.
In international distribution, Paul Gilbert, SVP, International Formats, Paramount Global Content Distribution, who has been with the company in various guises for over 16 years, is one of those impacted. Gilbert is responsible for striking global format deals for series such as Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy! and Lip Sync Battle as well as scripted formats such as The Good Wife and The Affair.
At Nickelodeon, Liz Paulson, head of animation and live-action casting and talent development for the network and studio content for third-party platforms, is leaving. The division’s talent department is being decentralized, I hear. Nick’s animation department has been significantly impacted, with close to 10 layoffs on both coasts.
Other notable TV executive departures so far include Brie Neimand, SVP, Current, Cable and Streaming Series at CBS Studios, who has been at the studio for 2 1/2 years; and Geoff Stier, SVP, Original Programming at Showtime Networks, who has been there for five years.
On the feature side, there were over a dozen layoffs with no senior executives affected, sources said.
Today’s layoffs represent about 3% of Paramount’s global head count. At the start of 2023, Paramount had 24,500 full- and part-time employees in 37 countries, with another 5,800 project-based staffers.
“To those with whom we are parting ways, we are incredibly grateful for your hard work and dedication,” Paramount CEO Bob Bakish wrote in a company memo at the start of the layoffs this morning. “Your talents have helped us advance our mission of unleashing the power of content around the world.”
Like other traditional media companies, Paramount has been hampered by a slowdown in advertising as it navigates the transition from linear TV to streaming.
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