BBC Announces It Is Cutting a Total of 520 Jobs on the News Side

By A.J. Katz Comment

It seems as though all major media companies are having to downsize in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, and that includes international media empires.

And when you think of international media empires, you think of British Broadcasting Co.

BBC is reporting that it is cutting 520 jobs in its news division, from a workforce of around 6,000 people. These 520 layoffs include the 450 that were announced as part of an £80 million (roughly $100 million) budget cut to BBC News back January, which were then put on hold.

The company announced today that as part of the downsizing, prime-time political talk show The Andrew Neil Show is being canceled. The BBC Two program had already been off the air during the Covid-19 crisis and will not return.

The Andrew Neil Show launched last fall on BBC Two, just in time for Brexit. BBC says it is talking to the longtime TV newser about a new interview show on BBC One.

Neil has been a significant presence across BBC News programming for decades. He became well-known in international media circles after Rupert Murdoch appointed him editor of The Sunday Times in 1983. Neil also became founding chairman of Sky TV in 1988, and left his role at The Sunday Times in 1994, later focusing more of his time on TV news and hosting programs like BBC’s This Week on BBC One (which ended last July) and Daily Politics on BBC Two. The latter was canceled in 2018 and reincarnated as Politics Live.

Speaking of Politics Live, BBC also announced that the midday political program will remain on BBC Two, but air only four days a week from Monday to Thursday.

According to the BBC’s head of news, Fran Unsworth, BBC News will be concentrating on fewer stories, with journalists pooled in centralized teams rather than working for specific shows.

The BBC News Channel and BBC World News will continue to share some output in the mornings and evenings, as they have done during the Covid-19 crisis, although they will remain separate networks under the BBC umbrella.

The company is also saying more interviews will be conducted by Skype, Zoom and other video technologies, meaning a lot of these job cuts are affecting behind-the-scenes folks working in satellite trucks, etc.

One shouldn’t be surprised if that happens in U.S. TV news later this year.

A rough day in the global news landscape.

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