Dismissed Disney Hit TV Production, Acquisition Departments – The Hollywood Reporter

Layoffs have begun at Disney’s television divisions.

Tell sources The Hollywood Reporter that Monday’s layoffs focused on manufacturing and acquisitions. Notable staffers fired Monday include Jayne Bieber, senior vp of production at Freeform/Onyx Collective; Mark Levenstein, head of production and post-production at Hulu; and Elizabeth Newman, head of Disney’s acquisitions department.

Sources note that Newman’s entire acquisition team has been disbanded, while the Bieber and Levenstein production teams will be merged under Carol Turner, exec vp production at ABC Signature. That team will continue to report to Eric Schrier, who promoted Dana Walden to president of Disney Television Studios and Business Operations at Disney General Entertainment late last year.

Details on the size of Monday’s layoffs or what percentage of Disney’s workforce was affected were not immediately available, as additional layoffs on the TV side are expected to follow by the end of the week, with the largest round coming in April.

As Disney CEO Bob Iger warned Monday, there would be layoffs this week as part of a round of budget cuts that would eliminate a total of 7,000 employees. In February, Iger said Disney will cut 7,000 jobs as part of a streamlined restructuring that will focus on three divisions: Disney Entertainment, ESPN and Parks, Experiences and Products. The cuts, he said, are “necessary for creating a more effective, coordinated and streamlined approach to our business,” Iger wrote in an internal memo Monday, adding that senior leaders have been evaluating their operational needs since he announced the cuts. The third and final round of layoffs is expected to take place before the start of the summer, Iger said.

The headcount cuts are part of a larger plan to create $5.5 billion in cost savings at the company and come as other conglomerates are similarly reducing their workforces in an effort to streamline the workforce and realign their ranks. measure as a recession looms.

Monday’s moves will end the segregated manufacturing divisions and consolidate that division into one unit that covers the entire TV side, while also eliminating a separate acquisitions unit.

Iger made a stunning return to the CEO role in November after Disney’s board of directors ousted his previous replacement, Bob Chapek, after just two and a half years in the position. Iger’s first point of action since returning to the Mouse House was to oust Chapek’s top lieutenant, Kareem Daniel. As part of Chapek’s Disney restructuring, he recruited Daniel to head up the newly created Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution division. The unit frustrated creative executives because Daniel controlled all of Disney’s revenue outside of the parks while controlling the purse strings for TV and film spending.

After eliminating Daniel, Iger folded DMED and restructured to return financial oversight to creatives and brought in Walden and Alan Bergman to oversee Disney Entertainment, with Jimmy Pitaro continuing to run ESPN and Josh D’Amaro the Parks division and products led.

Bieber, for her part, has been with Disney since 2009, starting out as a producer at the Disney Channel before moving up to ABC in the production and operations department. She was VP of the department for over a decade and earned her senior vice stripes in 2018 when she added Freeform to her purview.

Levenstein, meanwhile, had been with Hulu since mid-2019 as head of production and post-production.

Newman moved from the TV lighting and media rights side at CAA to vp development at Disney in late 2019. She was named head of creative acquisitions in early 2021 when former Disney studio chief Craig Hunegs created the creative acquisitions department that now reports to former FX buyer. Schrier.






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