TMZ Jettisons Longtime Staffer Johnny Lopez

This is definitely not what we expected so soon after TMZ made the 12-and-a-half-mile move from West Hollywood to Playa del Rey. But sources tells FishbowlLA a number of staffers were let go Friday.

It’s not unusual for TMZ to cycle through employees. However, what makes this latest bit of turnover notable is that among those getting the axe is a loyal soldier who has been with Harvey Levin since the very beginning.

As we once highlighted, Johnny Lopez (pictured) was the only person besides Harvey who could point to a byline on the TMZ.com website. From the get-go, very cleverly, AOL-Telepictures-Warner Bros. decided that the best way to brand TMZ was to make sure “By TMZ Staff” sat underneath each headline. That strategy seems a little antiquated now that TMZ is fully brand-established.

Our sources say that just under a half-dozen people were notified Friday that their TMZ services are no longer required. More details if-when they become available.

[Photo courtesy @TheJohnnyLopez]

Previously on FishbowlLA:
Meet the Only TMZ.com Staffer with a Byline
Latest TMZ Departure Perpetuates ‘Male Zone’ M.O.