Paxson Axes 50

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Paxson Communications cut approximately 50 staffers late last week, with the majority of job losses coming from the broadcaster’s corporate headquarters in West Palm Beach, Fla., on the programming side.

Among the executives reported to be out include SVP of programming Barry Schulman, Pax Television Network President Bill Scott and SVP of promotion and advertising Nancy Udell.

A Paxson spokesperson would not confirm the number of layoffs or specific employees let go, but said the moves were made because “the company is cutting expenses in an effort to boost the bottom line.” The spokesperson added that Paxson is moving ahead with future programming plans.

News of the layoffs increases speculation that the ailing broadcaster, which owns 58 stations, is paring down its operations in hopes of a sale. At one time, it looked like NBC might be a buyer -- the company owns a 32% stake in Paxson Communications -- but the network has already expanded its empire by buying Telemundo and cable entertainment channels USA Network, Bravo and Sci Fi.
Paxson did not inform NBC of the layoffs in advance, according to an NBC spokesperson, who added, “From what we understand, their decisions affected network programming staff, and we do not play a role in that area of the business.”

Paxson similarly dismissed a group of staffers in November 2002, shutting its Los Angeles office.

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