UPN Cuts Jobs As Part Of CBS Merger

By Caillan
January 30, 2002 - 5:05 PM

Enterprise network UPN will this week lay off approximately 20% of its 110 staff as part of a cost-cutting merger with CBS.

Personnel were told Friday that at least eight departments would now be supervised by CBS executives, according to Electronic Media Online. Layoffs started yesterday in the marketing, scheduling and research divisions.

Todd Lituchy, senior vice president of scheduling and acquisitions, is the most prominent casualty so far, although Variety reported at least one other high-ranking executive has also left the network.

The reorganisation will also see the closure of UPN's Chicago sales office, the departure of six sales employees and another five from media relations.

CBS chief executive Leslie Moonves, who recently assumed responsibility for UPN, announced Friday that Adam Ware would continue to serve in his capacity as chief operating officer. He added that Ware would "work closely" with UPN's incoming entertainment president Dawn Tarnofsky-Ostroff, who officially begins her duties on February 11.

While the back-line departments such as marketing will come until the aegis of CBS executives, Tarnofsky-Ostroff will have complete control over all creative divisions. However, industry sources have speculated that further staff could stand to lose their jobs in a second round of layoffs.

These latest departures come in the wake of several changes in the network's upper echelons. In December, parent company Viacom announced it would merge UPN with CBS this month in order to help turn the network to profitability (story). This was followed by the exit of Paramount's president of television programming Kerry McCluggage and UPN president Dean Valentine.

Further information can be found in trade paper Variety and here at Electronic Media Online.

Despite reports to the contrary, UPN has not cancelled its alien drama Roswell.

Crashdown.com, which yesterday published a report saying the network had no plans to renew the series (story), was told by producer 20th Century Fox that the show has not yet been axed.

The studio publicist said any decision regarding Roswell's future would not be announced until May and that UPN has yet to pull the plug on the series.

Roswell will be going on hiatus in March to make way for two new comedies UPN is testing out in its timeslot. The series, which started liveon the WB, has made it to its third season despite living under the constant threat of cancellation.

The original report can be found here at Crashdown.com.

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