TV Guide Channel cuts staffers, downgrades shows

Mon Jun 15, 2009 1:33am EDT
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By Nellie Andreeva

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The TV Guide Channel is laying off 38 staffers, including presenters John Fugelsang and Teresa Strasser, as part of a downgrade of three existing series by the network's new owners.

The weekly talk show "TV Watercooler," featuring Fugelsang and Strasser, is going off the air starting June 22.

The daily entertainment newsmagazine "Hollywood 411" will become a weekly show starting June 26. And the weekly TV-centric series "Infanity" will continue as specials starting June 26. No executives are affected by the layoffs, which mostly affect production staffers and temps.

The move comes four months after Lionsgate acquired the TV Guide Channel from Macrovision for $255 million. Two weeks ago, Lionsgate sold a 49% stake in the channel to JPMorgan Chase's One Equity Partners for $123 million.

"This is a shift in programing resources and priorities," a Lionsgate rep said. "We're reducing existing in-house made shows to spend more on acquiring new product."

TV Guide recently bid on the off-network rights to HBO's "Entourage," which went to Spike TV, and acquired reruns of MTV's "Punk'd." The channel is actively pursuing other properties.

(Editing by Dean Gooodman at Reuters)