ABC Studios’ chief asks TV shows to trim 2 per cent

he Walt Disney Co.’s head of ABC Studios has asked its two dozen shows including “Desperate Housewives” and “Dirty Sexy Money” to trim costs two per cent this season as the company addresses a big loss at its broadcasting group, a spokeswoman said Friday.

Disney reported Thursday that the group had a US$150 million operating loss in the fourth quarter, which ended Sept. 27, compared with a $33 million loss a year earlier.

ABC studios’ President Mark Pedowitz requested the cuts over the last few weeks, said studios spokeswoman Charissa Gilmore.

“We have approached our shows about making a two per cent cut,” Gilmore said. “It’s up to each show to identify where they are going to try to find those savings.”

Gilmore said the focus would be on areas that would not be visible on screen: “This is something that the audience will never notice.”

She did not put a dollar figure on the cut.

Disney also reported a worse-than-expected third quarter overall on Thursday. The company’s net income fell 13 per cent from a year ago to $760 million, even though its revenue grew 5.8 per cent to $9.45 billion.

The loss at the broadcasting group was blamed largely on lower advertising revenue and in part on higher pilot expenses.

ABC News president David Westin asked his staff in a memo last week to fly in cheaper seats, stay at cheaper hotels and cancel newspaper and magazine subscriptions. Holiday parties were cancelled.

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