The chairman of television at Disney downplayed the threat that large-scale layoff are imminent following the acquisition of 21st Century Fox in a $71.3 billion deal that closed last week.
Variety reports that Peter Rice talked about what the expanded television division can expect during a town hall Wednesday.
“The gathering marked the first time that many Disney TV employees had the chance to see Rice in person,” Variety reports. “The event was held at a theater space on the Disney lot and live streamed to thousands of employees. Rice oversees all of Disney’s television operations with the exception of ESPN.”
The report notes that one day after the deal closed, “dozens of employees on the Fox side were let go, mostly on the film side and in television distribution and sales.”
Variety adds: “Layoffs after a merger are largely the result of ‘duplication,’ Rice told the crowd, according to multiple sources with first-hand knowledge of the meeting. Disney’s television units have little direct overlap, he said. He pointed to the vast differences in the kid-friendly content produced by the Disney Channels Worldwide group and the edgy material that comes from the FX Networks team, now part of Disney.”