A new round of layoffs hit NBCUniversal this week with a slew of staffers cut from both E! and Esquire Networks. Variety has learned that approximately 20 to 30 employees were affected, none of them senior execs.
The layoffs were a result of continued efforts to integrate the two cablers, according to a joint statement from E! and Esquire Networks.
“As previously announced we have integrated E!’s news and online teams and, separately, the E! and Esquire marketing teams,” the statement reads. “We have made a small reduction in head count to maximize efficiencies in those areas as a result.”
Sources tell Variety that the cuts have nothing to do with TV viewership numbers or performance issues, and rather, are changes made to maximize ability, strength and business structures.
The layoffs come at a time when both E! and Esquire have been surging in primetime ratings with considerable momentum behind both cable nets.
In adults 18-49 ratings for May, E! ranked No. 11 among all cable networks in Nielsen’s Live+7 estimates (456,000 viewers), up a staggering 82% from last year. It rose 66% year-over-year (758,000 viewers) in total viewers to rank No. 24.
Esquire ranked No. 71 among cable networks in adults 18-49 (56,000), up 51% from last year. It came in No. 79 (126,000), up 68%, in total viewers.
Esquire recently ordered its first scripted series, “Spotless,” slated to debut this fall, while E!’s inaugural scripted foray, “The Royals,” was a success for the company. E! is adding to its scripted programming with the recent pickup of drama pilot “The Arrangement,” and has garnered buzz for Caitlyn Jenner’s “KUWTK” specials and her upcoming summer docuseries.
The entertainment network also just announced that “Fashion Police” will return this August with a revamped format and new host Melissa Rivers.