USA, Syfy cutting staff numbers in restructure

Following the recent formation of NBCU Cable's Entertainment Networks Group, approximately 25 staff members from Syfy and USA Network will be let go as part of restructuring efforts. (Pictured: Entertainment Networks Group president Chris McCumber)
May 26, 2016

Three months after NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment combined the two nets under the Entertainment Networks Group banner, approximately 25 staff members from Syfy and USA Network will be let go as part of restructuring efforts.

The move in February to consolidate operations for the two cable nets saw former USA topper Chris McCumber (pictured) appointed as president of the group, and former Syfy president Dave Howe taking on the role of president, strategy and commercial growth for the entire NBCU cable portfolio.

McCumber now has Syfy and USA as well as smaller nets Cloo and Chiller under his watch.

In an internal memo to staff, McCumber restated the structure of his executive team, also revealed in February, while saying the impending changes “will maximize the potential of our strong brands, and harness our collective strengths to form one cohesive, collaborative, best-in-class team.

“Senior executives across the entire Entertainment Networks group will now take on responsibility for both USA and Syfy, allowing us to streamline our structure and provide the flexibility to deploy our talent when and where they are most needed,” he added. “And while many of you will have the exciting opportunity to work on multiple networks, some functions will remain dedicated to specific network brands where necessary.”

McCumber also announced via the memo two newly-formed departments: original coproductions, originally part of the scheduling and acquisitions department but now its own division, to be headed by Chris Regina, SVP of original coproductions; and content strategy, which will be composed of the combined programming, scheduling and acquisitions teams from both nets. Leadership for the latter department is to be announced.

It is unknown whether the unscripted departments of both or either network are affected by the layoffs, which will impact close to 10% of the nets’ combined workforce.

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Jonathan Paul is a Toronto-based writer into creativity, content, advertising, tech, comics, video games, film, TV, time and space travel.