The decision to cut the two top executives from the Paramount and King World syndication PR departments Friday may be just the first cost-saving step in the widely anticipated consolidation of backroom operations, such as finance and marketing, between the two CBS Corp.-owned program suppliers.
“Friday’s (personnel) moves were isolated solely to the communications departments,” a CBS spokesman said, declining to speculate on whether there will be more consolidation in the future.
The layoffs of King World's Arthur Sando and Paramount’s Manfred Westphal are not seen as a precursor to any immediate changes, but some higher-ranking staffers making big salaries are said to be nervous that there could be more consolidation later outside of sales.
King World and Paramount are expected to maintain their status as independent suppliers. The two have already consolidated their programming operations, tapping Terry Wood as president to run their combined development and creative-affairs operations.
Susanna Beck, who worked under Sando at King World, will now report to Paramount’s top PR official, executive VP John Wentworth. Leslie Ryan, a former journalist who recently joined Paramount as Westphal’s PR lieutenant, will also remain.