Oxygen pink-slips 60 as NBC Uni takes over

Cuts claim about 25% of work force

More than 60 Oxygen staffers have been laid off following NBC Universal's acquisition of the cable network last month.

The pink-slipped staffers comprise about 25% of Oxygen's roughly 260 employees. The cuts affected employees at all levels across all departments.

Employees were notified of the layoffs Monday during a series of meetings held by NBC Uni officials in Oxygen's offices in New York, Dallas and Los Angeles.

NBC Uni Digital Distribution president Jean-Briac Perrette, who is serving as the Oxygen integration leader, said many functions and operations have been consolidated after several weeks of evaluating "the best organizational structure" for the network.

"While these decisions are never easy, they have been made after a great deal of thought and careful consideration about what is best for the business," Perrette said. "We have tried to minimize the impact to the affected employees as much as possible, either offering them opportunities within NBCU where available or paying them through the end of the year and providing them with enhanced severance packages and outplacement services."

Early Monday, Oxygen president and COO Lisa Gersh sent an e-mail to employees letting them know about the meetings with the NBC Uni officials.

"They have worked hard over the past several weeks to make the tough decisions about how to move this company forward -- and who will remain with Oxygen as the company integrates into NBCU," she wrote. "None of their decisions was easy -- it is all the more difficult when you are looking at a company like Oxygen -- a company that is full of stars."

NBC Uni completed its $875 million acquisition of Oxygen last month and gave Bravo Media president Lauren Zalaznick oversight of the network. Gersh is staying on for the next couple of months to oversee a transition period before assuming an unspecified new role within NBC Uni.