Tuesday, February 23, 2010

ABC NEWS READY TO SWING THE BIGGEST AXE YET

Yikes. How bad a state of affairs is it in TV news?

Fresh off the heels of word of 90 job cuts at CBS News, and of course that bloodbath in Canada at Citytv, comes word of massive layoffs coming to ABC News. Not only are 300-400 workers about to be tossed into the street, but a lot of the people left there are going to be forced into the videojournalism line of work: writing, shooting and editing their own stories.

Which is probably fine if you work at a newspaper, but quite frankly it's a lot of work for a TV person to do, lugging these big cameras around and then being expected to write and edit.Anyway, the bottom line is ABC plans to fire a lot of people and do less with fewer resources.

Maybe this is one of the reasons why Barbara Walters recently announced she isn't going to do those Oscar celebrity specials after this year -- maybe the news division won't have the budget for her kind of shows for much longer.

Also, there's another thought that is running through my mind -- with this insane number of job cuts I wonder if this is going to mean cancellations of some shows produced by ABC News. 

In particular, I am wondering about This Week -- possibly because Big George Stephanopoulos stepped down after he got another gig co-hosting on Good Morning America, and This Week has no permanent replacement yet. I wonder if ABC is thinking about punting that entire show off the air and replacing it with infomercials.

You know, playing professional poker is beginning to look more and more like a safer bet for a career. Those guys may worry about going broke, but at least they don't worry about being fired. What can I say, man? Television. What a crummy business.

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