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Thursday, January 29, 2009

abc tv cuts 400 jobs

From THR

The wave of industry-wide layoffs have reached Disney-ABC Television Group.

The group's president Anne Sweeney made the announcement in an internal memo to the staff Thursday morning.

"After months of making hard decisions across our businesses to help us adjust to a weakening economy, we're now faced with the harsh reality of having to eliminate jobs in some areas," she wrote in the memo. "This was not an easy decision, nor one made lightly,"

About two hundred employees across all divisions of the Disney-ABC TV Group will be laid off. Additionally, two hundred open positions that had been frozen will now be eliminated.

There were a couple hundred cuts at Disney and ABC.

Of these, there were 35-37 at ABC News. Since the division has already had cuts -- most recently in the fall -- the news division wasn't as hard hit. There were layoffs at the newsmagazines, "Primetime" and "20/20" as well as the ABC News Now digital service and ABC News digital. No top executives or on-air personnel were affected.

The digital media unit Stage 9 is also said to be significantly affected.

Overall, the job cuts represent about 5% of the company's payroll.

"I realize this is an extremely difficult day for everyone in our group," Sweeney said. "But despite the challenges before us, I remain confident and optimistic about our future, because you really are the best team in the business."

The layoffs come a week after Sweeney announced the merger of ABC and ABC Studios into ABC Entertainment Group. No high level executives from either division have been affected by the cuts as the group's president Stephen McPherson continues to evaluate the synergies between the network and the studio.