AMC Networks plans layoffs as CEO steps down after less than three months

Christina Spade attends The Hollywood Reporter, SAG-AFTRA and Heineken Celebrate Emmy Award Contenders at the annual Nominees Night on September 10, 2022 in West Hollywood, California.

Michael Kovac | The Hollywood Reporter | Getty Images

AMC Networks told its employees on Tuesday that they were planning large layoffs, according to a memo obtained by CNBC and a person familiar with the matter.

The memo, sent by AMC Networks president James Dolan, comes shortly after the company announced that CEO Christina Spade is stepping down less than three months after being promoted to position.

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“We believed that the loss from cord cutting would be offset by downsizing,” Dolan said in the memo. “That’s not what happened. We’re a content company and the way we deliver content is messed up.”

Dismissal is considered important. The Wall Street Journal previously reported that the layoffs would take place. A spokesperson for AMC Networks did not immediately return calls for comment.

The television network said Tuesday that Spade would receive the payout in accordance with his Aug. 4 employment agreement, which said he would be able to do so if he was terminated without “cause” or if he set- resignation for “good cause”. .”

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A company spokesman declined to provide further details. AMC Networks shares fell about 5% on Tuesday.

AMC said in a statement that its board is finalizing its decision to replace Spade.

“We thank Christina for her contributions to the company in her previous CEO and CFO roles, and we wish her the best in her future endeavors,” said Chairman James Dolan in the statement. AMC Networks is controlled by Dolan and his family, who also own Madison Square Garden Entertainment.

Spade joined AMC Networks in 2021 as chief financial officer and a few months later was promoted to the role of chief operating officer and CFO. In August, less than a year later, the company announced that he would take over as CEO.

Spade, an industry executive who previously held senior positions at ViacomCBS, CBS Corp. and Showtime, replaced interim CEO Matt Blank at AMC Networks.

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Blank, the former president of Showtime, takes over in 2021 after Josh Sapan left the company after a 26-year run that saw the network transform into series creators like “Mad Men” and “The Walking Dead.”

In recent years, AMC Networks has been considered a target for larger media companies. In addition to the success of TV shows, we have niche streaming services like AMC+ and Shudder focused on horror.

AMC is also being eyed by Peacock’s NBCUniversal, which has approached various smaller streaming services about combining its content, CNBC previously reported.

Read the memo below:

AMC Networks Community:
As I’m sure you know our industry is under pressure due to increasing customer losses. “Cutting the cord” is the main reason for this. At the same time, we have seen the rise of direct-to-consumer applications including our own AMC+. We believed that the loss of cord cutting would be compensated by the download. This has never happened. We’re a content company first and foremost and the way we monetize content is messed up.
This is why myself and the AMC Networks Board of Directors have come to the conclusion that as a company we need to conserve our resources at this time. We have ordered the executive leadership of AMC Networks to undergo significant job cuts. This includes major layoffs as well as the termination of all AMC Networks operations. We understand, of course, that this will cause great concern and worry for our employees and those who rely on AMC Networks for their livelihoods. We do not do this lightly. We will take every step possible to minimize the impact of these events on our community. However, it is necessary to start immediately with this new activity.
The Dolan Family and the AMC Networks Board of Directors are proud of the company and the products you create. These are turbulent and uncertain times in our industry. We are confident that AMC Networks will come out even stronger. Your executive leadership will follow up with the details shortly. We wish everyone in the AMC Networks community the best.
Sincerely,
James Dolan

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Information: Comcast’s NBCUniversal is the parent company of CNBC.

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