NBC lops 100 jobs
Soft ad market calls for more than attrition cuts
By John M. Higgins and Joe Schlosser -- Broadcasting & Cable, 2/18/2001 7:00:00 PM
NBC staffers on both coasts lost their jobs last week. In Burbank, Calif., NBC Entertainment dismissed about 50 staffers. In Fort Lee, N.J., CNBC did the same.
Two months ago, NBC said it would cut 5% to 10% of its work force, or between 300 and 600 positions companywide. At the time, the company said it hoped to accomplish the cuts by attrition. But, for about 100 unfortunate souls last week, that wasn't to be.
The good news, according to one NBC source: "The bulk of the layoffs are behind us." Whatever remaining ones there are, as well as the rest of the position cuts, should be sorted out by March 1.
Roughly 8% of NBC West Coast's 600 employees have been let go, including executives at NBC Studios, NBC Entertainment and NBC Enterprises, the network's new syndication unit. Most cuts came in promotion, marketing and finance, according to sources.
"I think we [said] in the past that we would try to use attrition to manage this, and then the ad market got worse. You know, we are making some very difficult choices, which are appropriate in these really difficult times," said Scott Sassa, head of NBC's West Coast operations.
CNBC pared about eight of its staff. The big slice came out of CNBC.com, which fired 26% of its 100 employees. That follows a plan to consolidate CNBC.com into the core cable network. CNBC.com had been treated as a discrete business unit but will now be recrafted to more directly support the main financial-news network. The CNBC network trimmed its staff by 4%, from about 520 workers to 500. In addition, some free-lancers and part-time workers are being let go.
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