Inside Move: Layoffs expected today at NBC U

Sources say rumors of massive layoffs are overblown

NEW YORK — When he addresses the troops today on the state of his “TV 2.0” initiative, Jeff Zucker is expected to announce layoffs throughout NBC Universal.

NBC U would not officially deny that headcount reductions are part of Zucker’s plan, but sources told Daily Variety that characterizations of “massive” layoffs are way overblown.

One insider confirmed that a memo will be sent to staffers today about a companywide agenda, but that “most of the speculation is way off the mark.”

Zucker alluded to the possibility of layoffs in July when he introduced TV 2.0 and told staff that as the various networks expand their digital initiatives, jobs could be affected.

Initiative is about driving the company’s broadcast and cable networks into new digital markets. All shows at NBC have been asked to come up with digital extensions as part of the effort.

Most of the Peacock’s TV businesses are doing better than last year. Primetime is up and has even generated at least one new hit, “Heroes.” Cablers MSNBC and CNBC are on the upswing, and “Today” and “Nightly News” are still dominant.

Recent earnings reports have shown the Peacock’s costs are also up — including for the expensive rights to ratings-grabbing NFL games — making cost-cutting a natural course of action in the near future.

Revenue for the quarter ended Sept. 30 was up 20% from last year; profit was down 10%.

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