Par disbands N.Y. literary department

Studio's Manhattan office remains intact

Paramount Pictures convulsed with more staff reductions Tuesday. The studio disbanded its New York literary department, including head Aimee Shieh, as it eliminated 31 positions among studio production departments.

Among those affected by the restructuring are head of physical production Georgia Kacandes, casting head Gail Levin, senior vps of production Ben Cosgrove and Dan Levine and Paramount Vantage executive vp production and acquisitions, Guy Stodel.

Newly installed Film Group president Adam Goodman notified employees of the changes Tuesday morning.

Layoffs, job eliminations and reorganization account for the total reduction in positions in the creative, casting and physical production departments, as well as at the Vantage label. The rest of the studio's New York office remains intact, including its publicity and marketing departments and a few distribution personnel.

A decision is forthcoming about whether the studio will revive a lit presence in New York or Los Angeles.

These most recent cost-cutting moves come on the heels of a major executive restructuring at the studio's Los Angeles headquarters that saw Film Group president John Lesher and production president Brad Weston removed from their posts.

Goodman, who had shared the production president label with Weston, was handed the top production spot as a result. Tuesday's housecleaning is a not unexpected move as the incoming president typically lets go of personnel associated with the outgoing regime.

In the last year, Paramount chairman and CEO Brad Grey has strived to cut overhead and streamline departments.

The studio's annual slate was trimmed from 25 to 20 features; Vantage's marketing, physical production and distribution departments were fully merged into the studio proper, resulting in 60 layoffs; and in December, the studio laid off another 100 people as part of a larger Viacom staff reduction and shed production deals with several notable producers.

DreamWorks' departure in September took another $50 million off the ledger.

Thus far, the studio's 2009 box office fortunes have been mixed. Misfires such as "Imagine That," "Dance Flick" and "The Soloist" have been counter-balanced by mega-hits "Star Trek" and "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen."
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