Layoffs at Dateline NBC

The first wave of layoffs under the NBC Universal’s belt-tightening plan started hitting NBC News with at least 17 employees losing jobs at Dateline NBC. The bulk of the cuts came in New York, with a smaller number coming from Washington, D.C. and Chicago.

In addition to the layoffs, an unspecified number of employees have volunteered for a buyout package.

NBC News officials are expected to complete the initial round of layoffs throughout the division – all of those expected for 2006 – by next week. Further reductions are coming next year.

The layoffs are part of the company’s “NBCU 2.0” plan to engineer greater efficiency in the company. The 700 employees targeted will be eliminated primarily on the broadcast TV side of the company, with the movie studio and entertainment cable networks untouched. Inside the broadcast unit, the news division will sustain the greatest damage, largely because it’s more labor-intensive than entertainment.