In the wake of a major restructure announced yesterday by Toronto, Canada’s Corus Entertainment, KidScreen has learned that Bonita Siegel, director of original productions for the company’s kids unit, has been dropped. And several members of the production and development team that worked under Siegel, who oversaw commissions for Corus nets YTV and Treehouse TV, have also been given pink slips.
The YTV/Treehouse was part of a realignment that resulted in 53 job cuts across Corus, and it has independent producers worried about the future of the kids channels’ production and development health.
‘It was bad news for sure,’ says one independent Canadian producer, who currently has a co-pro deal at one of the Corus-owned kidnets. He adds that although he received a call yesterday assuring him that his company’s relationship with Corus would continue as is, he does not know exactly who he will be dealing with now that Siegel is gone.
‘Certainly it was worrying,’ he says. ‘But they did reach out to the producers, so we don’t have our finger on the panic button yet.’
The layoffs are believed include two other prominent development execs, which raises more questions about the media conglomerate’s dedication to pursuing original commissions in the future. Representatives from Corus have not returned calls.
‘Bonnie Siegel is an important person in the world market, and it’s a big loss for the industry,’ says the producer. ‘The sky is not falling, but public companies need to increase profitability and evolve their business, as they say.’