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Comedy Central Head of Content and Creative Enterprises Sarah Babineau to Exit

Tom Hayden also exits as president of Smithsonian Networks

Sarah Babineau, head of content and creative enterprises at Comedy Central, will be leaving her position at the end of the year, a spokesperson for the company confirmed to TheWrap Wednesday.

Her exit comes amid layoffs of other high-level executives as a result of the ViacomCBS merger. The latest round comes as the company seeks to further integrate its cable brands into one portfolio. In a memo, Entertainment & Youth Group president Chris McCarthy described the move as “the final step to merge our four branded groups into one unified creative organization.”

Smithsonian Networks president Tom Hayden will also exit his post at the end of next month following a transition period.

Babineau was promoted to her current role in January, where she oversees all creative content and talent development for Comedy Central, including series, CC Films, as well as projects from Comedy Central Productions for third parties. Before that, she was co-head of original content at the company.

In late February, ViacomCBS announced plans with New York state to lay off 117 East Coast staffers across 11 divisions. ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish announced the news in a company-wide memo.

“Even before the coronavirus pandemic, we were already in a period of significant change to integrate our newly combined company – work that is helping us weather this crisis, creatively adapt and strengthen the resiliency of our business,” he wrote at the time. “It’s critical that we continue these efforts to integrate and evolve ViacomCBS to remain competitive now and for the future.  This means continuing to integrate and streamline our operations, manage our costs as diligently as we can, and follow through on our committed post-merger synergy targets.”

“Some of us are saying goodbye to incredible team members and friends – people who have made lasting contributions to the success of our company and have enriched our culture,” Bakish continued. “I want to assure you that we are focused on making their transitions easier at this time, while supporting the needs of all our employees and their families.”

Read a memo from McCarthy outlining Wednesday’s changes below.

Team,

By now I’m sure you’ve heard, today we took the final step to merge our four branded groups into one unified creative organization.

To that end, we made the extremely tough decision to part ways with staff members across our teams.  These changes were driven by two factors:

  • Shifting from cable to content which is at the center of everything we do
  • Moving from strong siloed brands to a powerful entertainment portfolio

We didn’t come to these decisions quickly or easily, but rather after a thoughtful process over the past few months.  This new structure will take advantage of our full scale and shared expertise.  More to come on that in the next few days.

As much as these changes are necessary, I know they aren’t easy on anyone – they shouldn’t be.  We aren’t just saying goodbye to work colleagues, but our friends and family.

Please join me in thanking those who are leaving and express our gratitude for their many contributions.

With appreciation,
Chris

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