Programming

The CW Restructuring Eliminates Comedy Department

Network Slims Down on Heels of Writers Guild of America Strike 3/03/2008 04:03:00 PM Eastern

The CW is restructuring its operations, eliminating its stand-alone comedy department and combining its drama and current programming divisions.

The CW

On the heels of a tough fall for The CW (and most of network television) followed by the 100-day writers' strike, the restructuring resulted in roughly 25-30 layoffs.

“The CW is restructuring some programming and marketing functions as part of an effort to streamline both areas,” the network said in a statement. “In programming, the current and drama development departments will work together in a combined group that will include current programming, in addition to scripted development. Alternative programming development remains unchanged.”

Among those departing will be executive vice president Kim Fleary and senior VP Steve Veisel from the comedy department, although both are expected to stay on with the network through the summer.

Despite the moves, the network is not totally abandoning the comedy business. The CW has had some success in comedy, including building Everybody Hates Chris up to the point where its off-network rights were just bought by Nick at Nite.

The network also said certain marketing operations that were previously under The CW Plus station-group umbrella will be pulled back into The CW Marketing.

The fall was especially disappointing for The CW, which had two of the most critically acclaimed new shows of the season in Gossip Girl and Reaper but failed to see viewers show up.

Word of the restructuring came just hours after the network announced early renewals for six series, including Gossip Girl but not Reaper.

The network also recently decided to part ways with World Wrestling Entertainment and the WWE SmackDown show that had filled its Friday-night lineup.

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