20% of DC's staff expected to be cut — UPDATED

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201009211733 20% of DC's staff expected to be cut    UPDATED

Okay, now we know why there’s still unease over all outposts of the DC Entertainment empire today: In the first interview we’ve seen with DC head Diane Nelson, she explains that DC’s staff will be cut by 20%:

About 20% of DC’s roughly 250 staffers will lose their jobs as part of the shift, while some others will move to the West Coast from the East. In addition, certain new positions are being added in Burbank.

Ongoing uncertainty has played a role in DC’s slow ramp-up since Nelson took her job last year. At the time, Warner’s top executives said they were counting on the new DC team to help develop a slate of tentpole movies that could become crucial franchises for the studio after the “Harry Potter” series comes to an end next year.

However, although various projects have been discussed, nothing has been given a definite spot on the Warner schedule after next June’s “Green Lantern,” which was already in the works before Nelson took her job.


Apparently with all the changes finally in place, things are ready to move forward on all fronts. Expect a lot of personnel moves at DC to be announced over the next few weeks.

UPDATED: And more interviews with Nelson are hitting. CBR:

What we’ve actually announced today is a little more nuanced than that, as I know you know, but we’re doing this to protect the legacy of what made the New York DC Comics operation great in the past, which is, again, inclusive of but not limited to the culture of publishing in New York, the creative relationships with people who live and work here…but we also thought about factors like how and with whom do we want to be working more closely with in Los Angeles with our colleagues at Warner Bros. and how do we ensure, no matter where we ended up, that our publishing operation, which includes physical and digital now, is closely connected and integrated with the efforts that Geoff Johns is leading to take our stories and characters into other media. We want editorial to see what Geoff is doing and Geoff to see what they’re doing, which is what his role is all about. And it puts the onus on all of us to be present in both offices. We looked at factors like where our digital business will be going and where our colleagues in digital distribution at Warner Bros. are going – and again, as well as the existing operation here that works really well here in New York.


And Comics Alliance:

CA: The two DC Comics Co-Publishers, Dan DiDio and Jim Lee, are already based on the two separate coasts. Do you see this shift more clearly delineating their roles in terms of the two arms of DC?

DN: Dan, as he has for the past 9 months, has an emphasis on the book publishing portion of the business, and Jim has had an emphasis on where we go with digital publishing as well as a lot of other areas. So those emphases will continue, but we all feel a personal and collective responsibility to stay connected and work effectively together. Dan and Jim are Co-Publishers, so that means that they are separately and together responsible for our total publishing program. And that include both book [publishing] and digital.


Aaaaaand…Newsarama:

“We’re trying to implement this really thoughtfully and with a lot of personal consideration, so we need to complete conversations with our own staff before we can talk some of the specifics,” Nelson said. “It’s a big, complicated realignment that we’re doing, and that’s why it’s hard to answer with the specificities.”

Takeaway: Ongoing interviews with EVERYONE of those 250 employees, which will take some time, and no real announcements until then. And, if we know our Warner Bros execs, probably no more announcements at all.

Rather surprisingly, Nelson won’t go on the record with closing the La Jolla office of WildStorm — although, we’re told, the lease is up in December so that might affect the plans.

Also, nothing on the fate of DC Direct.

So….developing still.

Comments

  1. That’s never good to hear. As a former TW employee (New Line) I know those next few “Black Fridays” aren’t going to be pleasant.

    Best of luck, you guys. Stay positive and remember that things do have a way of working out in the end.

  2. Maybe they could sell that Donald Judd and use the proceeds to give the people they lay off better severance packages.

  3. 20% is significant. I only hope the best for those affected. These are hard times no matter which industry a person belongs to.

  4. The double-dip recession finally hits the mainstream comics industry.

  5. Emily says:

    Thats wierd, someone elses details were sitting in the normally blank post a comment box

    Anyhows, Id say its more of a case of the frickin 3.99 price point finally biting them in the ass

  6. Wholesale restructuring — I know firsthand that Marvel had similar in the 90s and most of corporate America has had similar in the last 3 years — AND my thoughts are with anyone who leaves DC involuntarily. Please, for your own sake, try to shed the illusion that companies reward loyalty. Just saddle your own horse, carry your own water, and ride to better places.

  7. As for DC content, I would hope for something more interesting than the last few years of silver age fan fic, but I know DC is not really targeting me as a reader.

  8. Daniel Quesatrots says:

    I wish there was another picture they could have posted with this article. Geoff looks such a smug douche here while up to fifty people have to get laid off. Does that 20% include Wildstorm?

  9. Just read the interview or press release or whatever the hell it was where Ms. Nelson proved she could do corporate-speak & dodge straight answers with the best of ‘em. Also, that she could delightfully cram Geoff Johns’ name in there a dozen or so times as smoothly as a wounded rhino.

    This was the best quote, though…

    “I think anyone who insists they could articulate a black and white simple answer to either what we were intending to do or should do doesn’t understand the complexities of a business like this.”

    MAKING COMICAL BOOKS AM COMPLEX!! DEAD OR NOT DEAD!?? CRISIS OR NO CRISIS!?? MULTIVERSE OR WTF!?? HEAD NOW HURT REEEEAL BAD!!!

    Jesus.

  10. “Please, for your own sake, try to shed the illusion that companies reward loyalty. Just saddle your own horse, carry your own water, and ride to better places.”

    Amen brother…

  11. 250 people. What terrible news.

    Lance Roger Axt
    The AudioComics Company

  12. Brenticles says:

    Someone else’s info was on the page before I posted and I can’t post on the original Split story because it shows as The Beat is logged in there. So here is what I was going to say:

    I don’t understand why wouldn’t they just move everything out to the west coast? If they want synergy then keeping all the departments close and convienient would seem best.

    Based on the above they are doing the split operations because of some intangible quality of running publishing operations in New York? I still don’t get it but it’s late here and I’m sleepy so I’ll read this again in the morn.

  13. Army of Dorkness says:

    Dave Miller says:
    09/21/2010 at 7:44 pm
    “The double-dip recession finally hits the mainstream comics industry.”

    It didn’t help, but I doubt the economy is much of a factor here. This has been in the planning stages for at least a year before the Nelson thing happened. It’s your classic “Do More With Less” situation. DC Comics might not be so great with planning ahead, but their corporate overlords are.

    I’m pretty sure there’s a list of every employee they want to cut which has been on someone’s desk for months. The reason they won’t release names is because some people they want to keep might not want to stay so they’ll need to maybe move some names off of the cut list to fill those holes.

    This isn’t an example of the economy talking. It’s business as usual, and it has been a long time coming.

    Best of luck to 20% getting screwed over.

    (This post is an example of conjecture.)

  14. It could be that Nelson and Johns work well together. He’s the Hollywood liaison, he knows the characters, and like it or not, WB is eager for new franchises.

    If he is proactive, energized, and efficient at what he does, then the praise is justified. Of course, if Green Lantern tanks…

  15. Al™ says:

    Sorry to hear of the cuts. May those who are not retained find meaningful and related positions soon. Best of luck.

    This was obviously in the works for some time. And probably strategically timed for announcement AFTER the big ComicCons.

    To announce a 20% staff layoff during summer would have allowed it to become the Big Event for discussion in the convention corridors.

  16. Tommy Raiko says:

    “This was obviously in the works for some time. And probably strategically timed for announcement AFTER the big ComicCons.

    To announce a 20% staff layoff during summer would have allowed it to become the Big Event for discussion in the convention corridors.”

    I’m sure the convention schedule had something to do with the timing of the announcement, but perhaps not everything. After all, this announcement and its ramifications which will, presumably, spill over the next few weeks are perfectly timed to be the Big Deal discussion at and around New York Comic Con…

  17. Rich at Bleeding Cool is saying the LA Times has no source for the info on the 20% cut and that so far no employee will be cut off.

    http://www.bleedingcool.com/2010/09/22/there-is-no-twenty-percent-staff-reduction-at-dc-comics/

    i hope he’s right.

  18. Synsidar says:

    Journalists have various ways of presenting material. The absence of a direct quote does not mean that Fritz made up the figure or reported gossip. The only direct quotations (two) in the article are from Nelson, so it’s natural to conclude, as the Post’s Cavna did, that Nelson was the source for the layoffs figure. The “50 people” statement was repeated this morning on the Company Town homepage:

    DC moves to L.A. No, not Washington, D.C., DC Comics. Warner Bros. has wrapped up its yearlong reorganization of its DC Entertainment division, otherwise known as DC Comics. The bulk of DC’s New York-based operations are headed West, and about 50 people will be let go. Details on the moves from the Los Angeles Times.

    There’s been plenty of time for Nelson to correct mistaken impressions and misstatements. In the absence of a correction, one can assume that Fritz’s statement about layoffs is correct.

    SRS

  19. comicsatemybrain says:

    Hector:

    But Rich has no source for his statement that it won’t be 20% either. He also didn’t source his hints that Marvel would move to Orlando, and we all know how that turned out.

    So, in the end, I don’t think anybody outside of DC really knows the number of layoffs from the DC offices at this time. And of course it remains true that the fact that there will be layoffs of some sort is disappointing. I was always under the impression that DC’s operation was fairly lean.

  20. Dreamer says:

    Oh My class! Geoff Jones is SOO F*ckn HOT!!!

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