Viacom making job cuts at Spike, CMT and TV Land as Paramount Network launch looms

Lip Sync Battle
The restructuring arrives as Viacom prepares to have Paramount Network launch in January 2018 and join its other core networks.

A round of layoffs is hitting Viacom networks TV Land, CMT and Spike, only months before Viacom plans to relaunch Spike as Paramount Network.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, about 20 jobs are being cut across the three networks. In addition, Tom Zappala, executive vice president of programming at Spike, is out the door.

As Kevin Kay, president of Spike, TV Land and CMT, described it in a memo to employees, the goal of the restructuring is to more closely align Paramount Network and TV Land, including having a few TV Land executives continue to lead their teams, while also stepping into new roles at Paramount Network under existing leadership.

“Our goal is to make Paramount Network a premium destination that pushes the limits of storytelling with bold original scripted and non-scripted series. As some of the architects behind the successful TV Land rebrand and the launch of critically acclaimed and fan-favorite hits like 'Younger' and 'Teachers,' this new structure enables us to take the deep insights and expertise of TV Land’s team and apply them to Paramount Network as we gear up to launch next year, while also continuing our creative and ratings resurgence at TV Land,” wrote Kay in the memo.

As part of that restructuring, Karen Cummins will now serve as senior vice president of Marketing Partnerships for Paramount Network and TV Land; Scott Gregory will now serve as senior vice president of Programming, Media Planning and Acquisitions for Paramount Network and TV Land; and Deva Newman will serve as senior vice president of Creative for Paramount Network.

The restructuring arrives as Viacom prepares to have Paramount Network launch in January 2018 and join its other core networks: BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon and Nick Jr.

Kay said that the timing for the relaunch is partly so Paramount Network can avoid having to compete with programming like the NBA, NHL, fall broadcast premieres and three nights of NFL football. But the launch date will also give Paramount time to assemble a programming slate befitting its new designation as a premium entertainment destination.

“While we were anxious to do the rebranding as quickly as possible, making great programming takes time,” Kay said.

Programming on Paramount Network will include “Waco,” starring Michael Shannon; “American Woman,” starring Alicia Silverstone and Mena Suvari; and “Yellowstone,” starring Kevin Costner.