In what appears to be a new wave of layoffs, several senior scripted executives have left the broadcast network, including Gaye Hirsch, EVP, Development, who is departing after more than 15 years, and fellow CW veteran and head of department, Michael Roberts, who had been at the network (and its predecessor) for 21 years, sources tell deadline.
Also said to be leaving alongside Hirsch and Roberts are Ellen Rand, SVP of Current Programming and Steve Tao, VP, Current Programming, I hear. The full extent of layoffs is unclear. Reps for the CW did not return calls and emails seeking comment.
The high-profile departures come three months after new CW owner, Nexstar, named former Pop TV topper Brad Schwartz as President of Entertainment.
In his first major executive move, he just hired former NBCUniversal executive Heather Olander as Head of Unscripted, an area that will have a big presence on the network in its new incarnation, along with lower cost scripted originals, acquisitions and live sports.
Olander’s appointment already clashed with Hirsch’s responsibilities as she had previously overseen both scripted and unscripted development.
Most of the CW’s current scripted lineup is not expected to return next season; so far only flagship drama All American has been renewed for next season.
Around 40 CW staffers were laid off in the first wave of cuts Nov.1, just before Schwartz was appointed to the top entertainment post.
Hirsch worked closely with former Chairman and CEO Mark Pedowitz to develop series including The Flash, Arrow, Jane The Virgin, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Riverdale.
She had overseen all scripted and alternative series development for the network, as well as current alternative series and specials.
Hirsch moved into scripted development at The CW in 2009, after serving in the network’s current programming department, where she oversaw the day-to-day production on CW series, including Gossip Girl. Before joining The CW, she served as a Senior Executive at Cruise/Wagner Productions since 2000 and worked in production at HBO Films.
Hirsch and Roberts’ departures were first reported by THR.
Peter White Contributed to this report.
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