Refocusing Sundance Lays Off 10

Cable network Sundance Channel has laid off 10 staffers, mostly in programming, which a Sundance spokeswoman said was part of a shift in focus away from internal production and toward commissioning, licensing and marketing more films, multipart documentaries and narrative TV series.

In addition to signature originals and the content it receives from Showtime, the channel will also look to acquire more documentaries and features in their first window. The channel is expected to announce its fall programming lineup and 2006 development slate in June.

“Regrettably, this restructuring has led to the elimination of some positions in the Sundance Channel organization,” said the channel’s President and CEO, Larry Aidem in a statement. “However, we are confident that this reorganization effectively positions Sundance Channel for future growth.”

Helping to usher in that growth will be former Showtime executive Jennie Morris, who joins Sundance as director, scheduling and program planning, and Gail Gendler, who has been named senior director, acquisitions. Christian Vesper’s role expands from acquisitions to VP acquisitions, scheduling and program planning.

In addition, Valerie Bruce joins the channel as VP, legal and business affairs. She had been senior counsel, VH1 business and legal affairs.

Sundance Channel is a joint venture of NBC Universal, Robert Redford and Showtime Networks. Launched in 1996, it airs feature films, shorts, documentaries, world cinema, and animation, all uncut and ad-free, operating independently of the Sundance Film Festival and the non-profit Sundance Institute.