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Layoffs Hit CBS as ViacomCBS Continues Post-Merger Integration

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ViacomCBS has engaged in another round of layoffs, this time at CBS, as Viacom and CBS continue their post-merger integration as a combined company. The staff reduction includes those at CBS Entertainment, CBS News, CBS Sports, CBS Studios and CBS Television Studios.

“We are restructuring various operations at CBS as part our ongoing integration with Viacom, and to adapt to changes in our business, including those related to COVID-19,” said a CBS spokesperson in a statement. “Our thoughts today are with our departing colleagues for their friendship, service and many important contributions to CBS.”

Among those impacted by the move are vice president of drama development Sean Hoagland, senior vice president of specials Jodi Roth, vice president of current programming Michael Marks, CBS Entertainment’s senior vice president of comedy development Edy Mendoza and executive vice president of business affairs Gary Silver.

ViacomCBS has implemented several rounds of pink slips over the last few months, with CEO Bob Bakish telling employees via a late April memo that even amid the current pandemic, “it’s critical that we continue these efforts to integrate and evolve ViacomCBS to remain competitive now and for the future. This means continuing to integrate and streamline our operations, manage our costs as diligently as we can, and follow through on our committed post-merger synergy targets.”

The recent staff reductions have impacted most corners of the broader company, including more than 100 employees at Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, Pop and Smithsonian. Departures include Smithsonian Network head Tom Hayden, who is leaving at the end of the month, and Comedy Central head of content and creative enterprises Sarah Babineau.

ViacomCBS has targeted $750 million in annualized run rate synergies over the next three years, including $250 million in 2020. On the company’s most recent earnings call in May, Bakish said that given the one-time coronavirus-related cost reductions that ViacomCBS has had to make, it now sees further opportunity to create even more cost savings, having “proven we can do more with less and can operate without being physically co-located.” The company is now looking to further consolidate facilities, move activities to less espensive locations, and share more of its capabilities across divisions, said Bakish on the call.

Deadline first reported news of the CBS layoffs.