Number does not include buyouts

Seventeen “Dateline” employees were issued pinkslips Friday as NBC moved forward with a plan to pare hundreds of correspondents, producers and cameramen from the news division by early next year.

Sources inside NBC News said 10 “Dateline” staffers in New York were laid off, as well as five in Washington, D.C., one in Chicago and another in Burbank. The affected employees were notified by “Dateline” exec producer David Corvo.

That number does not include buyouts, which have been offered to dozens of employees across the company.

The restructuring, announced last month as part of the “NBC U 2.0″ initiative, will eliminate several hundred jobs from the network’s sprawling news division, which employs 2,000 and includes two cable networks and numerous local news staffs across the country.

As part of the initiative, New Jersey-based MSNBC is being consolidated into NBC News headquarters at 30 Rockefeller Center.

Sources said NBC execs were surprised at the number of news staffers who volunteered to take a buyout and predict that when the reductions are complete, the number of buyouts will exceed the number of layoffs.

Execs want to complete layoffs within a week to avoid having to do so close to the holiday season.

Several cameramen in the D.C. bureau were said to be considering buyouts, which would pay the rough equivalent of three years’ salary and allow them to return as freelance employees after six months.

Other reductions in the news division are being achieved by not filling empty positions.

Expenses such as travel for correspondents have come under increased scrutiny, sources said.

“Dateline,” once a five-night-a-week series, was expected to take a significant hit during the restructuring. This season the show is regularly airing once a week, on Saturdays, focusing editorially on true crime and its “To Catch a Predator” series on sexual predators.

The show’s staff functions as a production unit for all NBC News shows and also produces special news programming for the network.

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