NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - Storm clouds are brewing at the Weather Channel, with an estimated 60 to 80 jobs cut in recent weeks as the Atlanta-based company is absorbed into new owner NBC Universal.
Several on-camera meteorologists were laid off, including Weather Channel veterans Dave Schwartz and Cheryl Lemke. Also let go was the staff of “Forecast Earth,” the channel’s weekend environmental newsmagazine hosted by former CNN and MSNBC anchor Natalie Allen. The cuts also affected employees behind the scenes.
“The economic realities of recent months have created challenges for everyone in our business,” NBC Universal said in a statement. “In addition, when NBC Universal purchased the Weather Channel earlier this year, we expected that there would be cost synergies as part of a company reorganization.”
NBC Universal, which partnered with private equity firms Blackstone Group and Bain Capital to purchase the network, is merging the Weather Channel operations with its own Weather Plus. Weather Plus will close down by the end of the year, but some of its staff will remain.
“While it is always difficult to lose valued employees, we are doing our best to minimize the impact and remain committed to providing the highest-quality content that our viewers have come to expect from the Weather Channel.” Though it’s losing “Forecast Earth,” the channel will be adding other environmental programing.
The entire company is undergoing an effort to cut $500 million in costs, as mandated by NBC Universal’s parent company, General Electric.