AZN Lays Off Half of Staff

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Comcast Corp. last week laid off more than one-half of the staff of its Asian-American-targeted AZN Network.

Network managing director Steve Smith was one of as many as 50 of the network’s approximately 80 employees receiving pink slips in the reorganization, according to sources close to the network.

AZN chief financial officer Rod Shanks has taken over as general manager.

“We are restructuring AZN to leverage consolidated network functions in Comcast’s programming operations,” Comcast spokesman Tim Fitzpatrick said. “As we complete this restructuring, we will continue to deliver high-quality programming for Asian Americans, and the programming and viewing experience will remain essentially unchanged.”

Sources familiar with the situation said Smith’s exit was prompted in part by management’s decision to scale back the network’s commitment to original programming. AZN was converted from the multiethnic International Channel last March.

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