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NBCUniversal cuts about 500 employees

November 12, 2012|By Meg James
  • NBC Studios in Burbank. Parent company NBCUniversal is cutting about 500 jobs
NBC Studios in Burbank. Parent company NBCUniversal is cutting about 500… (David McNew / Getty Images )

In a round of year-end belt tightening, NBCUniversal is cutting about 500 employees, or about 1.5%  of its total workforce.

The cuts are distributed throughout the media company, which boasts nearly 30,000 employees, according to a person close to the situation who asked not to be identified discussing the sensitive topic.

Some of the layoffs have already occurred. Two months ago, "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" eliminated about two dozen of its crew in an effort to reduce the late-night program's budget.

A large percentage of the cuts came from the tiny G4 cable channel, which celebrates video game culture.  Last month, the channel canceled two of its signature and long-running shows, "Attack of the Show!" and "X-Play," leading to the departures of several dozen people.

Los Angeles-based Universal Pictures last month cut about 20 jobs, including in its home entertainment unit, which has seen lower revenue as part of an industrywide slowdown in DVD sales. Universal also decided to shutter its feature post sound studio after its staff completes work on current projects. The closure is expected to lead to the loss of another 20 people during the next year, a person familiar with the studio said.

Creative executives who work within NBC Entertainment were spared, according to knowledgeable people. The peacock network is in the midst of a ratings revival, the only major broadcast network to post audience gains during the new fall TV season.

A small number of layoffs are expected elsewhere in cable entertainment, which includes USA, Bravo, E! and Syfy, as well as the NBC News group, which oversees cable channels CNBC and MSNBC.

The job cuts were first reported by Deadline Hollywood.

NBCUniversal is controlled by Comcast Corp., which owns 51% of the New York-based media company.  General Electric Co. owns the remaining 49%. The job cuts came as corporate executives asked senior management to look closely at staffing levels as the company heads into budget planning for the new year.

Last month, the Weather Channel cut about 7% of its workforce.  NBCUniversal owns an interest in the channel, along with Bain Capital and Blackstone Group.

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