NBCU to Lop Off 500 Jobs

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NBC Universal could slash as many as 500 jobs across the company, or about 3% of its total workforce, according to an executive with knowledge of the media giant’s plans.

The cuts come in response to the overall sluggish economy and are part of a plan engineered by NBCU chief Jeff Zucker and made public in October.

The news also comes in the wake of a flood of layoff news today. Earlier Thursday Viacom announced it would slash 850 employees, or 7% of its work force and AT&T said it would lay off 12,000 workers.

As part of that October memo, Zucker said that the cuts would slash $500 million from NBCU’s overall budget and called on division heads to tighten their belts on staffing, promotional expenses and discretionary spending on travel, entertainment and outside consultants.

“We are living in a time of unprecedented economic challenges, and it is increasingly clear that the worldwide economic slowdown will continue into next year,” Zucker wrote in the October memo, according to website TV Newser. “The leadership team of the company agrees that we must take steps now to prepare for these new economic realities. As a result, all of our business leaders are being asked to cut their spending projections for 2009.”

According to one person familiar with the plan, the job cuts will be across the board and will affect each division differently. Earlier reports have said that NBCU will lose about 30 ad sales employees and that its CNBC unit would shave 80 people from its rolls.