The new CBS Corp. Thursday laid off a good portion of the 30 or so remaining staffers at Spelling Television, which has operated as a separate division of Viacom, and converted it into an independent pod—or studio-funded production company—according to those familiar with the plan.
While there were “no comments” all the way around late Thursday, it is understood that legendary Spelling TV Chairman Aaron Spelling and President Jonathan Levin, an 11-year vet and former CBS executive who has handled all programming, business affairs and strategic areas for the company, will remain. Both were said to be in meetings with CBS executives most of the day Thursday.
The company will have its own independent development fund, but all infrastructure functions, such as casting, will presumably be handled by Paramount Network Television in the future.
The move, which is not expected to impact projects now in development or those in the future, did not come as a big surprise to many observers.
All Spelling has left on the air are The WB’s 7th Heaven, which will end after 10 seasons in May, and Charmed, which barely made the prime time schedule this season and has not yet received a pickup order for 2006-07. Spelling also has a series for TNT slated to air midseason.
The lack of programs made Spelling TV an obvious target as CBS looked at cost-benefit ratios.
Among the series produced by Spelling TV over the years: Any Day Now, Clubhouse, 10-8, Summerland, Titans, Pacific Palisades and SunsetBeach.