Viacom Cuts 80 Comedy Employees


Viacom Inc.-owned MTV Networks Tuesday as expected lowered the boom on Comedy
Central's staff, cutting 20 percent of the network's 360-person work force.

Overall, 80 employees were let go by the network, mostly in the
affiliate-sales, marketing and operations departments, although it was unclear
at press time whether longtime network executive vice president of affiliate
relations Brad Samuels was among those let go. Samuels could not be reached for
comment at press time.

Sources said the programming and public-relations divisions remained
relatively intact.

The moves were anticipated after Viacom in April paid AOL Time Warner Inc.
$1.23 billion to acquire the 50 percent stake in Comedy it did not own.

In an internal memo, the company noted that MTVN is "represented to the
affiliate community by a single affiliate-sales and marketing group," and that
the moves were made to mirror the structure of the other MTVN networks.

"Unfortunately, implementing the integration plan means that some very
capable, devoted and hard-working people will be leaving us -- people who have
made lasting contributions over the years," the network said.

Just last month Viacom-owned Showtime laid off 10 percent of its work force,
or some 70 employees.