'Today' loses four in latest round of cuts


NBC News expects that a first round of layoffs under the NBC Uni 2.0 revamp will be completed by today with 30-40 jobs cut in the division.

About 700 positions, or 5% of its work force, will be trimmed within the next two years at the media giant that is trying to realign itself within the changing media landscape. While all areas of the company are being affected, it's likely that many of the cuts will be in the news division.

The first set of cuts happened last week, with upward of 15 jobs trimmed at the newsmagazine "Dateline." Sources said those included two on-air correspondents, including Chicago-based Rob Stafford and Edie Magnus, who had been with the show since 1996.

Sources said four jobs were cut at "Today," one at "NBC Nightly News," plus an unspecified number of other jobs across the news division, including people who didn't work for a specific show. NBC News declined comment.

One source said the number of layoffs at NBC News were less than initially expected because of the number of people who had taken voluntary buyouts.

More cuts are likely to come in the new year as MSNBC's operations are merged with NBC News and moved to 30 Rockefeller Center and CNBC's offices in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

NBC Uni 2.0 is expected to affect staffing at non-TV divisions, too. But a well-placed source said it's unlikely any of those job cuts will hit until after Jan. 1.

Some staff consolidation is expected from among the ranks of theatrical and home video marketing, though actual head-count reductions could be as few as perhaps a dozen positions, the source estimated. International operations also are being reviewed for a higher number of job cuts, but even there staff reductions are expected to be of less dramatic proportions than in the TV units.

It's understood that Universal Studios president Ron Meyer and his executive team in Los Angeles are still pleading their case for implementing as few job cuts as possible based on their argument that previous owners already have cut staffing to the bone.