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NBCUniversal Cable Hit With Significant Layoffs Amid Restructuring

Amid a restructuring, another round of layoffs are set to impact NBCUniversal’s E!, Bravo, Oxygen, USA and Syfy networks Thursday, a source familiar with the situation tells Variety, not long after the E! network laid off around 20-25 staff in August.

This round of layoffs is likely to impact fewer than 45 employees, more than last month’s news at E!, which came in tandem with the announcement that E! would be moving its nightly “E! News broadcast from Los Angeles to New York.

The reorganization involves the promotion of Jen Neal to general manager of E! News, live events and lifestyle digital, up from her pervious post as exec VP of E! marketing and live events. In her new position, she will oversee the expanded E! News operation and manage digital assets across Bravo, E!, Oxygen and Universal Kids.

The layoffs impact less than 5% of employees across the company’s entertainment and lifestyle group, which includes E!, Bravo, Oxygen and other brands. Development at Bravo and E! are being consolidated under Rachel Smith, who has been upped to executive VP of development of Bravo and E!.

The E! layoffs last month follows the announcement that the network’s “Nightly Pop” would expand to four nights a week, while “Daily Pop” will remain on during weekdays at 12 p.m. ET/PT. The new formats being introduced next year include programs that have the working titles of “In the Room,” “Pop of the Morning,” and “BingE! Club.” There are also two additional celeb and pop culture commentary formats in the works.

The move comes as the lifestyle grou[p restructures. Below is an internal memo circulated by Frances Berwick, president of NBCUniversal’s lifestyle networks:

Today the Lifestyle Group is making some changes to better organize ourselves for the future. I’m confident that this new structure, which creates multi-brand roles, will allow us to continue to grow the business and optimize our internal talent.  With that, I’m excited to announce the following changes to my leadership team:

Effective immediately, Jen Neal, previously EVP E! Marketing & Live Events, has been promoted to General Manager, E! News, Live Events and Lifestyle Digital.  In her new role, she will oversee the expanded E! News Operation and manage the Digital assets across Bravo, E!, Oxygen & Universal Kids.   Jen will continue to oversee Live Events at E! including the People’s Choice Awards and Live from the Red Carpet.  

Ellen Stone, currently EVP Marketing Bravo, Oxygen and Universal Kids, will assume responsibility for E! marketing as EVP, Marketing, Lifestyle Networks, creating a singular marketing team across all four Lifestyle brands. 

Jennifer Geisser, SVP Communications for Bravo, Oxygen and Universal Kids, is adding E! to her role as well as overseeing talent relations and is promoted to SVP, Communications and Talent Relations for the Lifestyle Networks.

In an effort to further strengthen our creative position in the marketplace, we are combining Bravo and E! development and promoting Rachel Smith, currently SVP, Bravo Development, to EVP, Development, Bravo & E! 

Rod Aissa, currently EVP, Programming & Development, Oxygen, will expand his role to also oversee production for E! as EVP, Original Programming, Oxygen and E! Production.

Shari Levine will continue in her role as EVP Production, Bravo. 

All of these roles will report directly to me, effective immediately.

Holly Tang, CFO and Head of Production Operations, Lifestyle Networks, and Dave Kaplan, SVP Strategic Insights and Research, Lifestyle Networks, will also continue to report to me. 

Lastly, in conjunction with the Entertainment Networks, Val Boreland, currently EVP, Content Strategy for the Entertainment Networks, will take on a new role as EVP, Content Strategy, Entertainment & Lifestyle Group.  In her expanded role, Val will lead the program scheduling and acquisition teams across USA, SYFY, Bravo, E!, Oxygen and Universal Kids. In addition, Val will manage a newly-centralized promotion scheduling team across all six channels of the Entertainment & Lifestyle group. Val will co-report to me and Chris McCumber, President Entertainment Networks.   

I realize that this is major change for us, but I believe this leadership team and new structure, along with the talented employees working across all these brands, will drive our continued success.


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