‘Entertainment Tonight’ to Lay Off Around 30 Staffers as Website Switches to Video-Heavy Focus (UPDATED EXCLUSIVE)

UPDATED FRIDAY: “Entertainment Tonight” is letting go of a substantial portion of its online editorial team as well as its newsdesk, Variety has learned. As part of a shift to a mostly video, around 30 staffers are expected to be impacted by the layoffs, which will take effect in September as the long-running syndicated entertainment news strip starts its new season.

“’ET’ has long been a video first business, and we are doubling down on that success as we enter our 44th season this fall,” a spokesperson told Variety in a statement. “We are transforming ETonline.com to deliver more breaking news video and original interviews and streamlining our news gathering process to better reach our audiences across ET’s multiple platforms.”

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Insiders stressed that this isn’t a sign that ETonline.com is shutting down, and no existing content will be removed from the website. But the news does come soon after parent Paramount Global shut down active posting and eliminated archives on its MTV and Comedy Central websites (among others). It also comes amid layoffs at competitors such as CNN as well.

The layoffs, which mostly impact digital (but does include a few from the linear “Entertainment Tonight” TV show as well), won’t take effect until September 7, which means current Season 43 staffing remains unchanged. For next season, new roles are expected to be added, and employees who have been let go by this wave of layoffs will be eligible to apply for any new roles.

One let-go staffer expressed frustration with what they said they believed were loyalty and transparency “empty promises”: “Individuals were called one at a time this morning to speak with the executive producer in charge of production at ‘Entertainment Tonight.’ They were told due to the budgeting for the upcoming season 44 that layoffs would be happening all day today. The laid off employees will still be paid out and given benefits until September 7, 2024, up until the start of the season 44, which is on Monday September 9, 2024. We were also told 18% of the company would be let go.”

The layoffs come a year after “Entertainment Tonight” also cut less than 10% staff in 2023 layoffs. In those cuts, which also impacted a dozen or so employees, “Entertainment Tonight” made those changes in light of its downsizing of digital programming.

On its boilerplate, “ET” touts itself as “the #1 for entertainment news video on Facebook and YouTube” and says that ETonline.com averages 26 million monthly unique visits.

“Entertainment Tonight,” which is produced and distributed by CBS Media Ventures, is exec produced by Erin Johnson, with Whitney Wallace and Leslie Kawaguchi as co-executive producers.

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