Paramount TV Studios and CBS Studios are the latest Hollywood entities to be hit with layoffs.
According to sources, Paramount has let go under 30 people as a result of the layoffs. Most of those are at Paramount TV Studios and CBS Studios, with some CBS employees also affected. Most of the layoffs are in the business affairs, casting, production, and legal departments.
There have also been a small number of layoffs in the Paramount+ scripted originals team, which is being folded into Paramount TV Studios.
In a memo to studio staff obtained by Variety, George Cheeks — the president and CEO of CBS and chief content officer for news and sports for Paramount+ — laid out the changes, stressing that CBS Studios and Paramount TV Studios would remain separate entities.
“As part of this reorganization, the creative executives from the Paramount+ scripted Originals team that has reported to Nicole will become part of the Paramount TV Studios team, and Jana Helman has been named head of development for PTVS,” Cheeks wrote.
Read the full memo below.
The move is not unexpected, as Paramount Global president and CEO Bob Bakish said on the company’s most recent earnings call that they would be looking at how to cut costs and streamline operations. Bakish in particular spoke of the need to reexamine the current state of Showtime Networks and Paramount TV Studios during the call.
“We’re always mindful of cost management as a company,” Bakish said at the time. The company is moving on the opportunity “to reorganize Showtime Networks, Showtime OTT and Paramount Television Studios into other parts of the company.” Bakish added that this effort will lead to the benefit of “significant cost reductions and advance our strategic agenda.”
This is the latest corporate change at Paramount to be announced in recent months. Most significantly, David Nevins announced he would be departing as head of the Paramount Premium Group at the end of the year. As part of his exit, Showtime Networks was moved under Chris McCarthy, while Showtime’s digital OTT operation moved to Paramount Streaming under Tom Ryan. BET and Paramount Television Studios now report to George Cheeks, the president and CEO of CBS who already oversaw news and sports at Paramount+ as chief content officer.
Studios Teams – Thank you for your patience as we’ve organized our new television studios group. I’m reaching out today with an update and a look ahead.
To reiterate, this new structure will feature two independently operated brands – CBS Studios and Paramount Television Studios (PTVS) – led respectively by David Stapf and Nicole Clemens, each with their own separate creative teams. This will maintain two dynamic entry points for creative talent to bring a wide range of broadcast, cable, and streaming content into our company. It also provides us the desired balance of having dedicated brands and divisional/creative leadership bolstered by streamlined support operations.
As part of this reorganization, the creative executives from the Paramount+ scripted Originals team that has reported to Nicole will become part of the Paramount TV Studios team, and Jana Helman has been named head of development for PTVS.
Looking more broadly across the group, we have also identified the leaders of important centralized functions that will support our creative process and business operations.
· Finance – Eric Gray will be head of finance for both studios, continuing to report to Bryon Rubin, Chief Operating and Financial Officer for CBS.
· Law – Kim Doneche will oversee Law matters for both studios and continue to report to Christa D’Alimonte, EVP and General Counsel for Paramount Global.
· Production – Kevin Berg will lead CBS Studios and Liz Miller will oversee production for PTVS.
· Business Affairs – Erika Kirkwood will oversee BA for PTVS with Allison Brightman leading for CBS Studios.
· Casting – Deborah Aquila will head casting for PTVS series and Meg Liberman for CBS Studios shows.
In each of these centralized areas, most of the team members under these department heads will begin to support and work across both CBS and PTVS projects, either immediately or over time. This is a new way of operating for many of us and will require healthy collaboration among leaders and teams.
Unfortunately, this organizational change also comes with the departures of valued colleagues. It hurts to say goodbye to teammates and friends who have contributed so much to our respective studios. I hope you will join me in thanking each and every one of them for their immeasurable achievements and contributions. We will miss them all and wish them much success in their next roles.
Going forward, our next step is to put this new structure into action while clearly communicating the vision for our two studios system. Below are some key tenets of the new structure that we want to make clear to our internal and external partners.
· Each studio is free to pursue content of all genres for all mediums. There are no exclusive lanes.
· We want to take full advantage of the Paramount Global broadcast/cable/streaming ecosystem as well as third-party platforms.
· With the international free-to-air networks now part of my purview, both studios will be collaborating more with Maria Kyriacou (UK and Australia) and Dario Turovelzky (LatAm) to see how we can support the company’s increased focus on globalization of content.
The bottom line – we have two prestigious, major studios that are laser focused on being global, multi-platform and collaborative. And, we have the framework, resources, and platforms to be an attractive creative destination for anyone.
Thank you all for everything you have done to position these two storied brands for success. And I truly appreciate everything you’ll do in the days ahead to take us to even greater heights.
Deadline first reported the new layoffs.