Fox Resists Trend to Cut Jobs

Entertainment chief said network won't follow the crowd.
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At least one company is bucking the trend to cut jobs and heap duties on those left standing. Fox executive Kevin Reilly told reporters at the Television Critics Association Tour in Los Angeles that his network would find other ways to cut costs if need be.

The network did cut some management positions last year during the writers’ strike, but no sweeping cuts are in the works, he said. Both NBC and CBS have swept through the ranks and let people go. CBS cut at least 400 jobs over the last year. NBC last month announced a plan to cut 500 jobs. Varietyreports that ABC is about to do the same. Several key engineering staff members were let go from ABC a few months ago.

Fox is in fairly good shape after ending 2008 as the most-watched TV network, thanks in part to “American Idol.” The musical “Star Search” averaged more than 28 million viewers per episode last year. CBS is powered by its crime franchises, particularly “CSI,” while NBC can’t seem to get a break.

NBC, however, is trailing the rest of the Big Four and is under pressure to cut costs. NBC Universal as a group increased revenues by 15 percent to $12.5 billion over the first nine months of 2008, and posted a profit of $2.27 billion. Nonetheless, one of its major shareholders, French media conglomerate Vivendi, expects to write down the value of its 20 percent stake in NBCU. General Electric (NYSE: GE), which owns 80 percent of NBCU, said it had no similar intention.