×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

No laughing matter for Comedy Central

Company axes 80 staffers

NEW YORK — The ax fell on 80 Comedy Central staffers Tuesday: More than 20% of the network’s workforce of 360 people was pinkslipped as the cabler’s ops are folded into MTV Networks.

A spokesman for Comedy Central declined to give the names of individual executives who received pinkslips but said job categories of the laid-off staffers range from executive VP to file clerk.

These 80 people became dispensable when their jobs were absorbed into what MTV Networks chairman-CEO Tom Freston called (in a companywide memo) the “centralized strategic-services group” for MTV, VH1 and all of their network clones, from MTV2 to VH1 Classic.

Viacom paid an extravagant $1.225 billion for the half of Comedy Central it didn’t already own two months ago.

Comedy Central is now in the same division with MTV and VH1, and these networks tap into a common pool for the functions itemized in Freston’s memo: legal, human resources, research, information systems, creative services, finance, production management, planning and design and network operations teams, plus “a single affiliate-sales-and-marketing group” for all of the networks; MTV cut the 80 staffers from these areas.

Other functions, such as programming and production, were spared because the network will be looking to produce more original programming. Its ratings have stayed relatively flat for the past year and a half, although such new series as the weekly “Chappelle’s Show” and the nightly “Tough Crowd With Colin Quinn” have begun to find an audience.

Larry Divney, president of Comedy Central, was able to spare 11 staffers by helping to find them similar jobs at MTV or VH1, the spokesman said. Freston’s memo also said the company would “ease the transitions” of the dismissed employees through “enhanced severance, outplacement counseling and employee-assistance counseling.”

More TV

  • R. Kelly

    R. Kelly Accusers Detail Abuse, Reveal Evidence on 'Dateline'

    The continuing controversy surrounding R. Kelly, including allegations of sexual abuse by a number of women over three decades, was the focus of Friday’s episode of “Dateline.” Speaking to accusers Sparkle, Jerhonda Pace and parents Tim and Jonjelyn Savage, among others, NBC’s Andrea Canning heard more harrowing tales of abduction and sexual misconduct on the part [...]

  • Kenan Thompson

    NBC Orders Comedy Pilots 'Saving Kenan' and 'Like Magic'

    NBC has ordered comedies “Saving Kenan” and “Like Magic” to pilot. “Saving Kenan” is a single-camera comedy starring “Saturday Night Live” veteran Kenan Thompson as a “newly widowed dad determined to be everything for his kids while begrudgingly letting his persistent father-in-law become more involved in their lives.” Jackie Clarke will serve as writer and [...]

  • The First -- "The Choice" -

    'The First' Canceled at Hulu After One Season

    Hulu has grounded the space exploration drama “The First” after one season, Variety has confirmed. The series hailed from Beau Willimon and starred Sean Penn and Natascha McElhone in Penn’s first regular television role. “The First” was set in the near future and followed the first human mission to Mars. Hulu gave the show a straight-to-series order in [...]

  • Nicole Maines Supergirl Trans Hollywood Portrait

    TV Roundup: 'Supergirl' Drops First Look at Nicole Maines as TV's First Trans Superhero

    In today’s TV News Roundup, The CW releases a first look at Nicole Maines on “Supergirl” and Variety unveils an exclusive look at Gabriel Iglesias’ new comedy special.  FIRST LOOKS truTV has released the first trailer for season 2 of Emmy-nominated series “At Home with Amy Sedaris.” The variety sketch comedy returns Tuesday, Feb. 19 at [...]

  • The Beatles Eight Days a Week

    Imagine's Documentary Arm Sets First-Look Pact With Apple (EXCLUSIVE)

    Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Documentaries has set a first-look pact with Apple to develop non-fiction features and series. The deal comes as Imagine is investing heavily in the premium non-fiction arena. The company in June recruited RadicalMedia veteran Justin Wilkes to head Imagine Documentaries as president. The deal suggests that Apple sees docu [...]

  • Fyre Festival Documentaries: The 10 Most

    Fyre Festival Documentaries: The 10 Most Outrageous Moments

    It is perhaps only fitting that two documentaries about the disastrous Fyre Festival, one of the most high-profile fraudulent failures in history, would arrive during the same week — a fitting cap on a tragicomedy of errors that, as both films outline in excruciating detail, unfolded like a slow-motion plane crash in the spring of [...]

  • Walt Disney HQ LA

    Disney Unveils Financial Data for DTC Unit, Sets April 11 for Investor Presentation

    Disney has rejiggered its business segments for earnings reporting to make room for the new unit housing its global streaming operations. Disney on Friday released restated earnings for fiscal 2018, 2017 and 2016 to give investors and financial analysts better visibility into its spending on the launch of the Disney Plus, ESPN Plus and other [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content