You’re fired — but you’re going out like a big shot!
A cluster of black Chevy Tahoe SUVs lined up outside NBCUniversal’s Manhattan headquarters at 30 Rockefeller Center early Tuesday — but instead of celebrities or media moguls, they were gathered to haul away employees who had just gotten pink slips, sources told The Post.
“Traditionally, the sendoff is HR presses the elevator button for you, takes your work badge and sends you home in a black car,” said a source, who noticed a line of roughly 10 big, luxury SUVs waiting outside 49 west 49th street around 10 a.m. Tuesday.
Sources told The Post that cuts are expected across the Comcast unit’s portfolio, which is comprised of sports and cable channels, broadcast networks, movie studio, Universal Pictures and Universal Studios theme parks. One source said to expect to see production-related jobs on NBCU’s shows to get hit hard, as most film and TV projects have been delayed.
At 30 Rock, where only essential news staffers roam the halls while the rest of the company works from home, “people are nervous,” an insider said. “People don’t know the extent of the cuts and managers have been kept in the dark.”
During past rounds of layoffs, NBCU employees have been given some guidance by the corporate office on the number of cuts and when they will be completed.
“This time, there’s no definitive end in sight,” the source said, noting that corporate hasn’t directly addressed the situation yet. “We’re not sure if layoffs will be done by the end of the day, week or year. We only have the rumor mill to rely on.”
Prior to Tuesday, NBCU, which has 35,000 full-time employees, had already been offering buyouts to senior staffers in various divisions. Sources told The Post the buyout round ended over a week ago. While it could not be determined how many jobs would be cut, a source close to NBCU said reductions are expected to affect less than 10 percent of the workforce.
Earlier this year, that number was believed to be much higher. In May, NBCU CEO Jeff Shell set into motion a series of pay cuts across the company in response to the financial fallout from the pandemic. One insider said that at the time, it was believed that the company was planning on steeper layoffs — closer to 20 percent — by the end of 2020.
Buzz of impending broad-based layoffs had been lingering over the heads of employees at NBCUniversal for the past few weeks, as the impact of the coronavirus has squeezed the broadcaster’s financial results.
Last week, NBCU-parent Comcast said second-quarter revenue at the division plunged 25.4 percent to $6.1 billion with its theme parks suffering a staggering 94-percent revenue drop. Advertising revenue at NBCU’s cable networks, which include NBC, CNBC and Bravo fell by 27 percent, as ad sales at NBC-owned broadcast TV stations slid 28 percent.
Nonetheless, on an earnings call last week, Shell confirmed that the company was undergoing a restructuring as it shifts its business away from traditional TV to streaming under its recently-launched Peacock service.
“It is said that crises tend to accelerate and exacerbate trends that are already happening,” Shell said. “That is certainly true in the television business.”
NBCU declined to comment.
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