NBCU cuts will total 500 jobs by year-end

Layoffs include late night, cable, Weather Co.

A sporadic series of job cuts NBCUniversal has been making since August will amount to 500 positions, or 1.5% of the workforce, by year’s end.

A source at the conglom confirmed the number circulating in published reports but characterized the eliminations as “nips and cuts” aimed at reducing inefficiencies across many different divisions, as opposed to the broader layoffs that rocked NBCUniversal in the years before its acquisition by Comcast.

The bulk of the cuts have already been completed, but there are still more to come, though NBC Entertainment’s creative execs are expected to emerge unscathed. The unit is on the upswing this fall as new primetime series including “The Voice” and “Revolution” are reversing the ratings doldrums that have plagued the broadcaster in past years.

The latenight division of NBCEntertainment, however, was the first to feel the brunt of the cuts. The initial wave hit “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” in August, with 20 staffers laid off. Leno himself took a massive salary reduction of as much as 50% of his wages to keep more of his employees from being let go.

NBCU’s cable division, which has been more of a profit engine to the conglom than its broadcast network in recent years, also saw some trimming. The ax fell hardest at G4, which recently announced the closure of two of its signature series amid a rebranding effort under way at the network, but other nets saw cuts as well including USA Network, Bravo, E!, CNBC and MSNBC.

The Weather Co.,in which NBCU maintains a stake, announced last month that 7% of its workforce would be slashed.

Also emerging unscathed was NBCU’s sports division, which defied its own internal revenue projections over the summer by breaking even at the 2012 Olympics in London.

Not as lucky: Universal Pictures, which will absorb dozens of cuts that will hit hardest in its home entertainment and audio mixing departments.

NBCU totals some 30,000 employees.

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