Viacom Lays Off Paramount Network Staffers Amid Reorganization (EXCLUSIVE)

Viacom has laid off a number of staffers in its entertainment group, with the majority of the affected employees hailing from Paramount Network, Variety has learned exclusively.

A Viacom spokesperson declined to comment. But a source with knowledge of the situation that the number of affected employees was fewer than 20, or less than 2% of the entertainment group’s workforce.

The layoffs come fewer than three months after Viacom reorganized its entertainment group. Longtime Viacom executive Kevin Kay–who oversaw Paramount Network, TV Land, and CMT–exited the company after two decades in October. The move came as part of a larger restructuring of Viacom’s cable brands under the direction of CEO Bob Bakish.

Kent Alterman and Chris McCarthy broadened their portfolios with the reorganization, with Alterman now leading the Comedy Central, Paramount Network and TV Land group. McCarthy, meanwhile, expanded his current role of president of MTV, VH1 and Logo to now include CMT. Both men continue to report to Bakish. There were no changes to BET Networks or Nickelodeon. Keith Cox, president of development for Paramount Network and TV Land, remains in that role.

Bakish has instituted a string of changes since taking over as Viacom CEO back in 2016. Under his leadership, Viacom has shifted its focus toward what Bakish identified as its core cable brands. Under that directive, not only was Spike TV rebranded as Paramount Network, but channels like MTV have all but ceased developing scripted fare. Bakish has also made executive changes at the highest levels of several Viacom networks, with long-serving execs like BET chairwoman and CEO Debra Lee stepping down in May 2018.

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