Pop TV has been hit with layoffs amid ongoing integration into parent company ViacomCBS.
A representative for the cable channel did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment on how many employees are being laid off, but an individual with knowledge of the situation tells TheWrap these cuts are a portion of around 100 layoffs expected to hit ViacomCBS as a whole this week. It is unclear what percentage of the layoffs are made up of Pop TV staff.
Brad Schwartz, president of the “Schitt’s Creek” network, broke the news to the staff in a memo Friday, which was obtained by TheWrap.
In the letter, Schwartz noted that he and Chris McCarthy, the head of ViacomCBS’ entertainment and youth division — which Pop was recently moved under — are both remaining in their respective posts.
“Before joining ViacomCBS, we operated as a standalone company and we were therefore staffed accordingly,” Schwartz wrote. “As we integrate Pop into the larger ViacomCBS Entertainment & Youth Group, filled with some of the most powerful brands in the industry, a lot of the work is being centralized across the portfolio to truly unleash our collective strengths and maximize the power of our content.”
He added: “To that end, Pop will continue to be an important part of the business but, unfortunately, we are saying goodbye to some close friends and talented colleagues.”
Along with “Schitt’s Creek,” which is now airing its sixth and final season, Pop’s lineup includes originals like “Flack” and “Florida Girls,” as well as “One Day at a Time,” which will make its network debut March 24, after having been revived by the cable channel following its cancellation at Netflix.
Last month, ViacomCBS shuffled oversight of Pop TV and MMA outfit Bellator, with Pop moving under Chris McCarthy and Bellator — which produces MMA events and manages a roster of fighters — now overseen by the president of Showtime Sports, Stephen Espinoza.
In November, McCarthy gained oversight of TV Land, Paramount Network and Smithsonian Channel and was named president of entertainment and youth brands. McCarthy also oversees MTV, VH1, CMT and Logo.
See Schwartz’s memo to staff in full below.
Before joining ViacomCBS, we operated as a standalone company and we were therefore staffed accordingly. As we integrate Pop into the larger ViacomCBS Entertainment & Youth Group, filled with some of the most powerful brands in the industry, a lot of the work is being centralized across the portfolio to truly unleash our collective strengths and maximize the power of our content.
To that end, Pop will continue to be an important part of the business but, unfortunately, we are saying goodbye to some close friends and talented colleagues.
We have built something very special that you should all be immensely proud of. We did the impossible. In less than five years, we went from being a TV Guide Network with a listing scroll still on 30% of our screens, to an Emmy-nominated network with a million+ viewer hit, a breakthrough brand, and two of the most critically praised and culturally-significant shows on television.
Moving forward, I’ll continue to run Pop and work alongside Chris as part of the Entertainment & Youth senior leadership team across the brands.
I thank you dearly for the heart and soul you have brought to everything we do.
With sincere thanks, respect and appreciation,