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NBC's Telemundo lays off 5% of workforce

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Facing a slowdown in advertising, NBC Universal's Spanish-language television operation has cut 85 jobs, reducing its workforce 5%.

"We are basically adjusting to reflect the economic realities of the current market," spokesman Alfredo Richard said. The employees were notified of their terminations last week.

The cuts come despite Telemundo's recent prime-time ratings success, led by a remake of the popular Colombian telenovela "Sin Senos No Hay Paraiso," ("Without Breasts there is no Paradise"). The 10 p.m. program, which follows the tale of a poor woman who gets breast implants in order to woo a wealthy drug dealer, has been averaging 1.9 million viewers a night in October, a substantial lift over shows that have run in that time period.Ctlogo

Telemundo separately confirmed that it has relieved its top programmer, Carlos Bardasano, of his duties and are not going to replace him. However, Bardasano will stay on as a consultant.

The NBC-owned network, despite its lower advertising rates, is not immune from the slowdown in advertising that is hammering English- and Spanish-language television stations alike.   

"Trends continue to worsen across the media landscape, as broad-based uncertainty has advertisers reigning in spending," Wachovia Capital Markets said this week in a research report. "We're seeing and hearing evidence that weakness accelerated late in third quarter. While political money is flowing in, the bulk of the spending remains in the approximately 10 swing states."

This isn't the first employee retrenchment for Telemundo. Two years ago, the company laid off 110 people, primarily in its TV station group.

-- Meg James

Photo: The stars of "Sin Senos No Hay Paraiso." Credit: Telemundo

 
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