Disney axes short-form 20th Digital Studio unit in latest round of cuts

Disney’s digital content division, 20th Digital Studio, has become the latest casualty of the Mouse House’s most recent round of layoffs.

The unit, which launched in 2008 as Fox Digital Studio, finances and produces shortform genre content and works with up-and-coming filmmakers. It also develops select shorts into longer form content and partners emerging talent with established producers.

David Worthen Brooks, the EVP that heads up the division, will take up a first-look deal with Hulu as an independent producer, according to US trade Deadline.

Several 20th Digital Studio projects streamed on Hulu, including original horror films Grimcutty, Matriarch and the short film series Bite Size Halloween.

Other staff cuts yesterday include Reena Singh, SVP of development and current series for Disney Branded Television. She joined the division more than two years ago from 20th Television, where she had served as SVP of current programming.

Amanda DiPiazza, executive director of current series, is also departing Disney Branded Television.

Other cuts this week have seen unscripted execs such as 16-year veteran Marc Buhaj, Disney Branded Television’s VP of unscripted & specials, let go, with Julia Jarmon, Freeform’s SVP of development, also exiting – and the network’s development and current now  consolidated under Jamila Hunter, EVP of original programming & development.

The lay-offs come as CEO Bob Iger aims to cut $5.5bn across the business, including $3bn from content spend, and reduce the company’s overall staff levels by 7,000.
The redundancies this week are expected to bring the number of roles eliminated so far to around 4,000.

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