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06.30.2003
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
Layoffs at Comedy Central no laughing matter

It's no joke, about 80 employees, making up just over 20 percent of the workforce, were fired at Comedy Central last week. Comedy Central is now fully owned by Viacom’s MTV Networks.

The layoffs were the fallout from Viacom’s $1.2 billion purchase of the remaining 50 percent interest in Comedy Central that was owned by AOL Time Warner. MTV Networks centralizes many services for its networks, which now includes Comedy Central, and the positions at the comedy channel were found redundant.

Jobs were lost in the legal, human resources, research, information systems, creative services, finance, production management, planning and design, network operations and affiliate sales and marketing departments. Departments coming out unscathed were programming, production, marketing, on-air promotion, communications and ad sales.

In a memo sent out to the Comedy Central staff, Judy McGrath, MTV Networks group president, and Larry Divney, president and CEO of the channel, said the reason for the layoffs is to “mirror the structure of the other MTV Networks and to help us grow, in part, by tapping into MTV Networks’ extensive resources."

For more information visit www.viacom.com.

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