Comcast will restructure and reduce the footprint for regional service CN8 early next year.
Currently housed under Comcast's Eastern Division, the service, which counts some 8 million of the operator's subscribers along the eastern seaboard, on Jan. 6 will split into a pair of networks, one serving Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Pittsburgh DMAs, the other in Washington D.C.-Baltimore area, under the Comcast Network moniker and become part of Comcast SportsNet. At that point, CN8 will go dark in the Boston area and throughout New England, according to a Comcast SportsNet spokesman.
Last month, Comcast said it would lay off about 300 employees from the Eastern Division, which is being consolidated from six divisions to four.
Although under the sports aegis, the two Comcast Networks will continue to provide public affairs and community fare, with a roll back in the amount of live programming.
“We are restructuring CN8’s operations from a single multi-regional network into two local networks that will serve local viewers with more targeted public affairs and sports programming,” Comcast said in a statement. “This restructuring will strengthen the network’s focus on providing credible, informative and relevant local public affairs and sports content of interest to viewers in the Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Washington/Baltimore regions while continuing to feature some of CN8’s signature personalities"
Top talent like Lynn Doyle (It's Your Call), Art Fennell (Art Fennell Reports) Larry Kane (Voice of Reason) and Robert Traynham (Roll Call TV) are expected to be retained, perhaps in reduced roles
Comcast informed employees of its intentions Wednesday. Although staffing situation was still being evaluated, the expectation is that the majority of the 300 employees working for the service, which generates low ratings and is now facing tough ad market, will lose their gigs.
The operator, though, said it will attempt to relocate some staffers to positions within the company and provide severance and out-placement services for the others.
While it will shutter in New England, Comcast will still have a regional presence there through New England Cable News, in which it holds a stake, and Comcast SportsNet New England.
CN8 was founded in 1996 in Philadelphia by Mike Doyle, husband of the on-air personality Lynn, as a regional public affairs, general-entertainment services. Mike Doyle left his post as Eastern Division president earlier this year.