LOS ANGELES The wave of media-industry layoffs has reached CBS Corp.
Employees of CBS Entertainment and CBS Paramount Network TV were let go Monday at the company’s Studio City and Television City lots in California.
The cuts claimed two high-profile managers: evp Maria Crenna, who served as the studio’s No. 2 executive under president David Stapf, and svp, head of comedy Brian Banks. Both were 11-year CBS veterans.
Also gone: vp, current programming Jocelyn Freid.
CBS’ development teams were not impacted. There were some lower-level layoffs in the network’s current department.
Although far from the scope of the executive bloodbath at NBC — where most heads of departments at the network and the studio were pink-slipped in a restructuring that saw NBC and Universal Media Studios merge operations — the dismissal of two high-level executives at CBS Paramount raises the question about a possible convergence of the studio with CBS. (ABC is mulling a similar move with ABC Studios.)
However, a CBS insider stressed that both divisions will continue to operate independently. CBS and CBS Paramount are part of CBS Paramount TV Network Entertainment Group, run by Nancy Tellem.
Before its merger with Viacom’s Paramount TV, CBS had an in-house production company, CBS Prods., which was headed by Crenna. She was named evp at the combined CBS Paramount TV at its inception in 2004.
Banks also hails from CBS Prods. and was appointed head of comedy for CBS Par TV at its launch.
The studio has struggled to deliver a hit comedy to CBS. It is co-producing the network’s freshman half-hours Worst Week and Gary Unmarried. However, both originated at outside studios — UMS and ABC Studios, respectively.
The company has yet to name a new head of the comedy department to replace Banks.