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ReelzChannel cancels 'Dailies,' lays off 40 in L.A.

December 11, 2008 |  1:16 pm

LogoReelzChannel, the cable and Web network launched two years ago to feed the seemingly insatiable appetite of movie aficionados, has canceled its flagship show, "Dailies," and laid off more than 40 people in its Los Angeles studios this week in another sign of the troubling times in media.

The Minnesota operation, owned by Hubbard Media, still employs about 125 people in Los Angeles, where the company is nearly three years into a five-year lease for space at the sprawling Los Angeles Center Studios just west of the 110 Freeway in downtown.

Reelz has been hurt by the company's business plan. Unlike a lot of cable channels, Reelz made a strategic decision to depend solely on advertising, and not cable TV subscriber fees, for revenues. The strategy was adopted to encourage cable operators to carry the channel. But the economic downturn is severely crimping advertising spending, leading to an economic crunch at the channel.

Gary Thorne, ReelzChannel's president and chief operating officer, said that instead of producing the half-hour program, "Dailies," the network would provide its entertainment news in shorter segments throughout the day.  He said the company remained "fully engaged" in its cable channel and online operation.

"We took this occasion to look at everything that we are doing to find efficiencies and make some adjustments," Thorne said.  "We don't have a crystal ball, but as we look going into 2009, it doesn't look too good."

-- Meg James