You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Pittard Sullivan shuts doors

No buyer found for flailing operation

HOLLYWOOD — No buyer, no business: Television branding and marketing giant Pittard Sullivan abruptly shut its doors last week after failing to find a suitor to take over the flailing operation.

Well known for its network identities, on-air promos and titles work for the major TV broadcast networks and cable outlets, the Culver City-based company pinkslipped its remaining 55 employees and closed its doors late Thursday after a takeover by Boston-based Internet consulting venture Viant fell through at the last minute.

Toppers Ed Sullivan and Billy Pittard told staffers they would no longer be paid or given severance packages and on Friday sent out a fax apologizing “for the hardship on each of you from the company’s inability to pay the amounts it owes you.”

That amount includes weeks of paychecks, as much as $20,000 in owed travel and business expenses per employee and thousands more in missing money from 401K plans.

Pittard Sullivan’s assets are being liquidated by City National Bank, which has a security interest in the venture. But Pittard Sullivan, in its fax to staffers, said, “It appears unlikely that the proceeds from the liquidation will be sufficient to pay City National all that it is owed.”

The move was a bit of a surprise, considering CEO-prexy Sullivan on Thursday said the company would not be shutting down but would “limp along with the limping economy” (Daily Variety, March 30). Hours later, Sullivan and Pittard gave its staff the bad news.

In the past two years, Pittard Sullivan has laid out prodigious amounts of cash to pay costly perks to attract and retain a team of expensive graphic designers, even in slow periods.

It also spent more than $1 million to build an unused soundstage and renovate office space, as well as spending millions aggressively trying to expand, launching failed commercial production, publishing, Internet and digital convergence divisions.

A souring advertising market and fleeing clients didn’t help. In the end, Pittard Sullivan found itself with few major clients after sales execs ankled last fall. While the company was completing work for DirecTV and OpenTV and contracts were on the table with HBO and AOL Time Warner, lucrative projects for major TV networks were going to smaller, cheaper competitors.

The company had offices in New York, London and Munich and at one time hired 200 people.

“They spent a lot of money and got big fast,” one former employee said. “They built a great company in a short time by taking risks. This time it didn’t work out. In the end, being the most recognized company in the field didn’t matter.”

Phone calls to Pittard Sullivan’s offices were not returned.

More TV

  • DRG Boards Sales on Scandi Sci-Fi

    DRG Boards Sales on Scandi Sci-Fi Mystery Series ‘The White Wall’

    Scandinavian sci-fi series “The White Wall” is coming to the international market, starting at NATPE, after DRG picked up international rights to the upcoming project. Finland’s Fire Monkey and Nice Drama, part of the Nordic Entertainment Group, are making “The White Wall” for Swedish pubcaster SVT and its Finnish counterpart, YLE. It will feature a [...]

  • L.A. Teachers' Strike: Hollywood Studios, Unions

    Hollywood Studios, Unions Support Parents and Educators as L.A. Teachers' Strike Rages

    Hollywood unions and entertainment companies have stepped up to support the 31,000 Los Angeles teachers in the second day of a massive strike that’s affected nearly half a million students. More than 50 SAG-AFTRA members picketed at a Tuesday afternoon rally in the driving rain next to the Hollywood & Highland Center with secretary-treasurer Jane [...]

  • R. KellyR. Kelly in concert at

    'Surviving R. Kelly' Producers on the Lifetime Doc's Ripple Effect

    The ripple effect of “Surviving R. Kelly” continues to widen more than a week after the documentary aired on Lifetime, renewing public interest — and outrage — over the litany of sexual abuse allegations against the R&B artist. Lady Gaga and Phoenix have apologized for working with him. Chance the Rapper and other artists are said to [...]

  • Yellowstone

    Viacom Lays Off Paramount Network Staffers Amid Reorganization (EXCLUSIVE)

    Viacom has laid off a number of staffers in its entertainment group, with the majority of the affected employees hailing from Paramount Network, Variety has learned exclusively. A Viacom spokesperson declined to comment. But a source with knowledge of the situation that the number of affected employees was fewer than 20, or less than 2% of [...]

  • The Last OG

    TV News Roundup: 'Last O.G.' Sets Season 2 Premiere Date on TBS

    In today’s TV News Roundup, “The Last O.G.” announces its Season 2 return date and Variety has the exclusive first look at Fox’s new legal drama “Proven Innocent.” FIRST LOOKS Netflix has announced its new limited series “Black Earth Rising” will launch on Jan. 25. The contemporary thriller series stars Michaela Coel as Kate Ashby, a Rwandan girl [...]

  • Matt Walsh

    'Veep' Star Matt Walsh to Lead ABC Comedy Pilot 'Happy Accident'

    Matt Walsh has been tapped for a lead role in the upcoming ABC single-camera comedy pilot “Happy Accident.” In the series, two Pittsburgh families – a father (Walsh) with three adult daughters, and a hotel lounge singer with her med student son – are forced together after a decades-old secret is revealed. Walsh currently stars in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content