Another Leftist News Outlet Will Shutter Its Doors After 36 Years, Resulting in Mass Layoffs
Powered in its infancy by the likes of Madonna and Michael Jackson, MTV News closing down.
The ax was swung Tuesday by Paramount Global as part of a company-wide set of cost-cutting measures, according to NBC.
Layoffs will reduce the workforces of Showtime, MTV Entertainment Studios and Paramount Media Networks groups by 25 percent, the company announced. The goal of the restructuring is to combine nine subsidiaries into one portfolio.
As noted by the Los Angeles Times, the demise of MTV News comes as its liberal colleague BuzzFeed News shut down and Vice News is trying to find a buyer.
I wasn’t even aware that MTV News was still a thing.
Twitter proves again that it is the news media now.
CBC News can’t stay away and comes crawling back. NPR is going to be back, we all know it. pic.twitter.com/SOrcXZNdVf
— Wall Street Silver (@WallStreetSilv) May 10, 2023
In a memo, Showtime/MTV Entertainment Studios and Paramount Media Networks president Chris McCarthy said “we continue to feel pressure from broader economic headwinds like many of our peers,” according to NBC.
“As a result, we have made the very hard but necessary decision to reduce our domestic team by approximately 25 percent,” McCarthy said. “This is a tough yet important strategic realignment of our group. Through the elimination of some units and by streamlining others, we will be able to reduce costs and create a more effective approach to our business as we move forward.”
Four months ago. Showtime laid off 120 workers.
Paramount Global, the parent company, lost $1.12 billion in the first quarter of the year, according to Variety.
MTV News officially debuted in 1987, but had its roots earlier, according to Doug Herzog, who began as the MTV news director in 1984, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“This was the summer of ‘Purple Rain,’ ‘Born in the USA,’ the Jacksons’ Victory Tour and Madonna. It was like the Mt. Rushmore days of music video. They gave me a little money to start a department. But the guys who ran MTV, like Bob Pittman, were radio guys, and they didn’t really want to interrupt the music.”
He said the change came in 1987.
“The biggest stars — Madonna, Prince, Bruce and others — were a little less interested in talking to the VeeJays, because they thought they were, well, fluffy,” Herzog said. “Some of that was unfair criticism, but we felt that maybe [the artists] wanted someone with more credibility. So Linda [Corradina] came up with this idea of hiring Kurt Loder from Rolling Stone magazine,” he said.
Here’s Kurt Loder announcing Kurt Cobain’s death on MTV News on Apr. 8, 1994.
This was how millions of people found out Kurt was gone. pic.twitter.com/lIgj4TAbmt
— Mike Beauvais (@MikeBeauvais) May 9, 2023
MTV News had its glory days in the 1990s, Herzog recalled.
“We started doing more hard-hitting stuff. We started making documentaries and winning awards. MTV, in those days, was a big cultural force. Everybody watched it, and everybody wanted to be a part of it, including Bill Clinton,” he said.
It was at a 1994 MTV town hall on MTV when the former president was asked if he wore boxers or briefs, responding “Usually briefs.”
Former MTV News senior writer and editor Gil Kaufman noted that MTV became a relic, according to the New York Post.
“I have two teenage kids, and they know that I worked for MTV, but they’ve never seen MTV. They wouldn’t even know where to look for it,” Kaufman said in a 2021 interview.
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