Paramount Global said Tuesday it’s laying off some of its “very valued colleagues,” including on its Paramount+ team. Variety reported Tuesday the cuts will affect about 800 employees, an estimated three percent of the media giant’s workforce. “I am confident this is the right decision for our future,” CEO Bob Bakish wrote in a leaked staff memo. Paramount Global’s revenue grew three percent in the third quarter of 2023.
Bakish’s memo says the company will notify terminated staff by the close of business on Tuesday. He added that international offices will be affected, too. “Those notifications will occur over time in line with our local legal obligations in each of the countries where we operate,” the CEO wrote.
Variety claims the layoffs will be spread among all the company’s divisions. These include Paramount+, CBS, Paramount Pictures, Showtime, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon and Pluto TV.
The CEO referenced Super Bowl LVIII, which became what the NFL says was the most-watched telecast ever. Bakish chalked that up to the game’s broadcast showcasing “the full power of Paramount.” Some may counter that it instead showcased “the full power” of combining NFL fans with Taylor Swift fans.
Bakish’s memo shouted out Jon Stewart, who returned to Comedy Central’s The Daily Show on Monday. (In the host’s 2024 homecoming, he suggested a new slogan for the 2024 US Presidential election: “What the f#@k are we doing?”) Stewart agreed last month to reclaim his old desk once a week after leaving his Apple TV+ series, The Problem with Jon Stewart, after only two seasons. Apple’s cancellation reportedly came after disagreements with the iPhone maker over episodes criticizing China and AI. Lawmakers later questioned Apple about the fallout.
Paramount’s streaming and film divisions have driven recent growth, but its traditional television offerings continue to struggle. Revenue in that area dropped by eight percent in Q3 2024, with TV advertising dropping by 14 percent. The company’s linear TV struggles have reportedly put it on the block for mergers and acquisitions, including (allegedly stalled) merger talks with Warner Bros. Discovery in December 2023.