Layoffs Hit MTV, VH1; Dave Sirulnick Among Exits

Following Viacom's February news of a major media restructuring and the departure of music head Van Toffler, layoffs at the company have started to hit MTV and VH1, after reports earlier this week of layoffs at TV Land.

The staff cuts have hit both MTV and VH1 as Viacom consolidates its music and entertainment divisions (including Comedy Central and Spike) with the goal of saving $250 million, according to a speech CEO Philippe Dauman gave to investors on Mar. 9.

"Some of the programming that we acquired years ago just doesn't work anymore; particularly, when you have off-broadcast programming that is ubiquitously on SVOD, it's just not playing," he said. "So we're going to abandon some of that programming as we go forward and continue to invest in what works."

Those confirmed to be leaving are svp of production Jonathan Mussman; Marshall Eisen, svp of MTV News & Docs; Tony DiBari svp of series development; and Frank Ho, vp of MTV Music & Talent. While conflicting reports first emerged over the departure of longtime evp Dave Sirulnick, Billboard has since confirmed his exit as well. The chief architect of the MTV Video Music Awards will stay on until the end of March for transitionary purposes. 

Layoffs are expected to continue through the week. Deadline cites 12 percent of staff as the target for the layoffs.

The media conglomerate saw net earnings dropped by 9 percent, in its latest fiscal quarter, while ad sales had dipped six percent.

A representative from Viacom tells Billboard: "As announced, we are in the process of restructuring and there will be employees leaving the company as a result. We are so grateful for the contributions they have made to Viacom."

This story was updated on March 11, following confirmation of Sirulnick's exit.


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