MTV Nets layoffs include executives


MTV Networks has handed out pink slips to several senior-level executives as part of its move to cut 250 jobs this week.

In addition, the company has decided to shut down the MTV World linear channels superserving young multicultural viewers.

Among those departing the Viacom-owned company are Paul DeBenedittis, executive vp multiplatform programming, content strategy and scheduling at MTV; Salli Frattini, senior vp/executive in charge of production at MTV; Kathy Flynn, senior vp production events at MTV and VH1; and Laura Nelson, senior vp communications at VH1.

MTV2 general manager David Cohn and MTV World general manager and senior vp Nusrat Durrani also are exiting their positions. However, it's unclear whether Cohn and Durrani will be taking on new roles within MTV Networks or moving on to another company.

VH1 Classic senior vp and general manager Eric Sherman also has exited his position.

It's understood that VH1 Classic and MTV2 will not be going off the air.

Meanwhile, MTV World consists of MTV Desi, which targets South Asian Americans; MTV Chi, targeting Chinese Americans; and MTV K, for Korean Americans. The company has decided to shut down the linear channels but hopes to continue the brands on other platforms.

"Unfortunately, the premium distribution model for MTV World proved more challenging than we anticipated in this competitive environment," the company said. "As a result, MTV has decided to shut down its linear MTV World operation. However, we remain steadfast in superserving multicultural youth, and we are continuing to investigate ways to integrate the MTV Desi, Chi and K brands online and on our other screens."

The staff reductions at MTV Networks are being made with an eye on consolidating functions at the company, which has long maintained a decentralized structure to keep its various brands -- including MTV, VH1 and Comedy Central -- in operation. The cuts, which are being made all week, represent about 6% of MTV Networks' global work force.