Anne Sweeney, president of Disney-ABC Television Group, made the announcement in an internal memo on Thursday morning, but did not reveal specifics: "After months of making hard decisions across our businesses to help us adjust to a weakening economy, we're now faced with the harsh reality of having to eliminate jobs in some areas," she wrote in the memo. "This was not an easy decision, nor one made lightly."
About 40 ABC News staffers have already been let go. At least five staffers would be lost from ABC's TV research division, now headed by Charles Kennedy--who will be the new senior vice president of research for ABC Television, according to executives.
"Change is never easy, and becomes even harder to embrace during times of turbulence and uncertainty," Sweeney wrote. "With that in mind, I've asked each business leader to reach out to their group with more information on this announcement as soon as possible."
On Tuesday, ESPN and ABC Sports said it expected that 200 jobs will be cut within the next year, mostly positions that are currently not filled. ESPN and Disney-ABC Television Group are owned by The Walt Disney Co.
A week ago, Disney-ABC announced the merger of ABC Entertainment and ABC Studios into a single division, the ABC Entertainment Group, with Stephen McPherson named president of the combined unit. He had been president of ABC Entertainment.
Other major media companies, such as NBC, Viacom, and Warner Bros., have also trimmed staffers. But many of those cutbacks were far greater than Disney-ABC, numbering into the thousands in a few cases--all blamed on a weakened economy.