In the latest wave of industry layoffs, the recently combined Showtime/MTV Entertainment Studios as well as Paramount Media Networks, overseen by the division’s President and CEO Chris McCarthy, is reducing its domestic team by 25% today.
The reduction comes on the heels of integrating Showtime into his cable and streaming purview, which will be consolidated into two functions going forward. There are “studios,” which now combines Showtime with MTV Entertainment Studios, and “networks,” which will merge nine separate teams into one portfolio group. The majority of the cuts are being felt by the latter group, with certain units, including MTV News, being shut down altogether. Paramount Global had 24,500 employees companywide as of the end of 2022.
“This combination has resulted in an incredible track record of hits,” noted McCarthy in a memo to staff, before rattling off successes like Yellowstone, The Challenge, Your Honor, George & Tammy and Yellowjackets. “However, despite this success in streaming, we continue to feel pressure from broader economic headwinds like many of our peers.”
While the scale might be staggering, another round of layoffs was all but inevitable, given both the degree of consolidation and the broader health of the marketplace. The cuts come roughly half a year after Showtime’s longtime leader David Nevins was shown the door, with other top execs, including Showtime president Jana Winograde, following earlier this year. McCarthy has been busy reimagining the Showtime brand in their absence, increasingly focused on three buckets of programming: diverse cultures, anti-heroes, and high-stakes worlds. The projects that don’t fit squarely into those buckets have been shelved and, wherever possible, sold elsewhere. As McCarthy sees it, it’s a way to provide clarity and, as he recently told The Hollywood Reporter, “a way higher hit ratio.”
More recently, parent company Paramount Global posted dismal quarterly earnings, citing such things as an 11 percent drop in TV ad revenue. CEO Bob Bakish said in a call with investors that the company is “navigating a challenging and uncertain macroeconomic environment, and you see the impact of that on our financials, as the combination of peak streaming investment intersects with cyclical ad softness.”
To be sure, Paramount is hardly alone in its bloodletting. Warner Brothers Discovery, for instance, completed a series of layoffs as well as a corporate reorg last year, while Disney is still in the midst of cutting 7,000 positions across the company.