NBCUniversal plans company-wide layoffs of less than 10% of 35,000-person staff

NBCUniversal is the latest media company to make staff cuts in the wake of the pandemic’s economic fallout.

The cuts are expected to affect less than 10% of the company’s 35,000 full-time staffers and will extend across divisions including its broadcast networks, movie studio and theme parks, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The company, owned by Comcast, started laying off staffers who work for NBC’s sports sites such as Hardball Talk and College Football Talk on Monday, Awful Announcing first reported. The Wall Street Journal was first to report the larger layoffs on Tuesday.

NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said on an earnings call last week that the company was undergoing a restructuring.

“A few months ago, we combined our television and streaming businesses under Mark Lazarus, which will allow us to more rapidly shift our resources and investment from linear to streaming,” Shell said. “Mark is finalizing a new structure that will demonstrate the unique way we intend to manage this business going forward. We will announce the structure soon.”

Indeed, NBCUniversal has been investing more in streaming. Last month, the company launched Peacock, a streaming service that features its TV programming such as late-night shows, sitcoms and hundreds of films along with new original shows.

Amid these changes, NBCUniversal is grappling with another crisis: The company has launched an investigation into allegations of inappropriate workplace behavior by NBC Entertainment chairman Paul Telegdy, as uncovered by The Hollywood Reporter. Telegdy denied the allegations in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, writing, “The nature of these allegations flies in the face of everything I stand for. I hope that my actions over decades — empowering those around me, supporting artists, and creating shows with values of aspiration and inclusion at the core — speak louder than the selective words of a few.”

With theme parks closed (although now some are operating at reduced capacity), advertising budgets slashed and film productions and releases halted, many media companies have enacted several cost cutting measures. The Journal reported that WarnerMedia, which owns CNN, is expected to cut staff as early as next week. A WarnerMedia spokesperson did not respond to CNN Business’ request for comment.