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Layoffs Strike CMT as Part of Reorg: Heads of Marketing and Nashville Office Both Let Go

Read Chris McCarthy’s memo to staff here

Layoffs struck CMT on Wednesday as part of a company reorg, TheWrap has learned. Anthony Barton, the head of CMT marketing, and Suzanne Norman, the head of its Nashville office, are among those out.

A number of employees — we’re told in the double digits — had their positions eliminated today, with the majority of the job cuts coming in the former Country Music Television’s marketing department. Other departments hit include music, scheduling, communications and events, as the groups move toward full integration into Viacom’s music group, which also houses MTV, VH1 and Logo.

A “significant” number of employees in those departments will remain, a network insider told us. The restructuring is for growth potential and is not unlike what MTV went through a few years ago.

Chris McCarthy, the president of MTV, VH1, Logo and CMT, sent the below memo to his staff today:

Hi everyone,
We have made great progress over the last couple of years to fully harness the creative power of our collective group.
By integrating our departments across brands, removing silos and developing best-in-class creative teams, we are building a stronger group together.
Today, we are taking the next step – as we finalize the integration of CMT with a new, simplified structure.  Moving forward, the CMT marketing, music, scheduling, communications and event production teams will be fully integrated within our group, under our existing unified leadership team. Several CMT leads will be taking on expanded roles working across all of our brands, particularly in partnership marketing and event production.
Unfortunately, however, this new structure does mean some hard changes. A number of our CMT marketing colleagues will be leaving including Anthony Barton, the head of CMT marketing, and Suzanne Norman, the head of our Nashville office.
Suzanne and Anthony are passionate champions for the CMT brand and we are very grateful for their many years of dedication. Without them, and many of our CMT colleagues, it would not be as strong as it is today. Please join me in thanking them and wishing everyone continued success.
The heart and soul of CMT is our music programming, tentpoles and deep connection to Nashville – which will be at the center of CMT’s growth plan forward. Through increased programming and events, we will further amplify Nashville and its thriving country music scene. More to come on this shortly.
Thank you for your continued support as we transform our group and the company for the future.

The Nashville office will remain the center for CMT as the channel doubles down on branding around the Tennessee city. The Viacom-owned cable channel is going hard on country music, and fans of that strategy can expect more content — including tentpole series — to be announced in the coming weeks.

Last week, Paramount Network (which is also owned by Viacom, as is VH1) announced that it was taking the “Wife Swap” revival off of CMT’s plate — err, slate.

Keith Cox, president of development of Paramount Network and (Viacom’s) TV Land, who developed “Wife Swap” for CMT, pushed to keep it with him at Paramount Network after CMT moved out of their network group, an insider said. The series will debut on the Paramount Network Thursday, April 4. Get more info — and a trailer — here.

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