The second round of The Walt Disney Company’s 7,000 layoffs has begun and, as previously reported, is mostly impacting the entertainment division. Disney expects to reach 4,000 total layoffs by Thursday this week, cutting 15% of the entertainment division.
Disney Television Studios Marketing Dissolved
The Disney TV Studios’ marketing department is being dissolved. The various outlets that the department produces for (like ABC and Hulu) will handle their own marketing from now on.
Executives laid off because of this dissolution include Senior Vice President of Marketing Steven Melnick, SVP of Marketing & Promotions for 20th Television Sharon Merle-Lieberman, and SVP of Marketing for ABC Signature and 20th TV Animation Sonia Borris.
Music Departments Consolidated
The 20th Television and ABC Signature music departments will be consolidated under 20th TV’s Executive Vice President and head of music Jeremy Summers. Dawn Solér, SVP of music for ABC, is departing.
Freeform’s Julie Jarmon, SVP of Development, and Sarah Tomassi Lindman, SVP of Content Planning & Strategy, have been both laid off. Jarmon’s department and current programming will be consolidated under Jamila Hunter, EVP of Original Programming & Development.
Also being let go is Freeform’s Alix Lee, Director of Development & Programming.
SVP of Current Programming for ABC, Stacey Adams, is leaving the company. Brianna Bennet, head of drama development, will take over.
ABC Signature’s Vice President of Drama Development Brenda Vogel, VP of Comedy Jenny Fritz, and managers of drama development Gabrielle Gold and Max Henke are also leaving the company.
The SVP of Current Programming Dana Sharpless and the manager of comedy development Stephanie Rosenthal-Gruber are both departing.
Russell Wolff, Executive Vice President and General Manager of ESPN+, has been laid off after a 26-year career with ESPN.
The Walt Disney Company Layoffs
Executives at The Walt Disney Company were asked by Iger to identify thousands of potential layoff candidates in an effort to cut nearly $5.5 billion in costs. Iger is reportedly on “a push for profitability” as his return to the company continues and the letting go of executives is reportedly just the start.
The first round of layoffs began in late March. Senior Vice President of Production for Hulu, Mark Levenstein, and Senior VP of Production Management & Operations For Freeform, Jayne Bieber, were among the first executives to be let go. Also laid off was VP of Corporate Communications for The Walt Disney Company, Jeffrey R. Epstein, and Marvel Entertainment Chairman, Ike Perlumutter. Disney’s “Metaverse” team was also terminated.
The company’s restructuring comes after previous CEO Bob Chapek was fired last November. Though many changes have already been made within the company after his exit, the stock price continues to be an issue. The majority of job cuts waited until after the April 3 shareholders meeting.
A staff memo from Disney Entertainment Co-Chairmen Alan Bergman and Dana Walden informed employees that affected workers would be notified from Monday through Thursday.
An additional, final round of layoffs will take effect before the start of summer 2023.
The layoffs are not set to affect regular theme park employees. Approximately 28,000 Cast Members were already laid off during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.