Consolidation hits marketing, publicity units
The consolidation between A andE Networks and Lifetime has begun, with more than 100 pink slips passed over the past week across the AandE Television Networks landscape.Layoffs are across the board, with Lifetime departments like legal, human resources, publicity and marketing particularly hard hit. Out in the shuffle are Lifetime head of reality Jessica Samet and head of casting Rick Jacobs. Also out are key P.R. execs Josh Sabarra and Cindy Ronzoni. AETN has been mapping out its consolidation plans for weeks, and looking at ways to remove some redundancies and merge certain areas. As part of that process, several execs had already opted to exit, including Pat Langer, Lifetime’s exec VP for business affairs, legal and human resources, and Lifetime exec VP-chief financial officer James Wesley. Meanwhile, Lifetime research chief Mike Greco has been named the head of research for all of AETN, replacing Dave Marans, who has departed. And Lifetime digital topper Dan Surratt will now head up digital for all of AETN. The shuffling takes place two months after AETN, the partnership between Disney-ABC TV Group, Hearst Corp. and NBC Universal, acquired Lifetime Entertainment Services, which was a joint venture between Disney and Hearst. Under the new setup AETN prexy-CEO Abbe Raven remains in charge, with Lifetime CEO Andrea Wong now reporting directly to her. AandE/Biography prexy-GM Bob DeBitetto and History/History Intl. prez-GM Nancy Dubuc also continue to report to Raven. At Lifetime, programming exec JoAnn Alfano remains in place as well. Disney-ABC and Hearst each own around 42% of the new AETN, while NBC U owns about 16%. Combined entity includes AandE Network, Lifetime, History, Lifetime Movie Network, Bio, History Intl., Lifetime Real Women, History en Espanol, Military History and the Crim and Investigation Network.