Layoffs At ESPN; Sadly, Skip Bayless Seems Safe

Just when you think the economy is getting better, bad news from Bristol, Conn.; ESPN is laying off 100 employees. The cuts will span a wide variety of positions, “from production assistants up to executive roles,” which is probably why the network is currently auditioning puppets. They cost less and almost never lose their tempers on the set.

ESPN, Bristol

This news is like learning that The Empire is cutting jobs midway through construction of the Death Star. But it does give us the opportunity to marvel at the unparalleled example of corporate speak below — can one expect anything less from a company that calls itself the Worldwide Leader?

From the ESPN press release:

“Most of the jobs are being repurposed in support of initiatives which will more effectively grow our company, and our headcount number, ultimately, will remain consistent with current levels.”

That’s a mouthful, my friends. Does anyone have a corporate-to-English dictionary? (No word yet on whether the mentioned headcount will include actual bodies attached to the heads).

But almost all kidding aside, this isn’t really a harbinger of doom for the WWL; it’s more like simply rearranging the lawn chairs at Michael Vick’s house arrest party. ESPN is as tanned as muscled as ever — they did, after all, manage to outbid everyone, including Saudi oil billionaires and Lex Luthor, in November for rights to college football’s Bowl Championship Series for four years starting in 2011. ESPN Grand Inquisitor George Bodenheimer had predicted the layoffs back in January, only then he was thinking there would be at least 200, twice as many as have actually occurred (so far).

And many of the job cuts will come through attrition (don’t hold your breath waiting for a new ombudsman).

Besides, can a network that broadcasts hot dog eating contests and just launched ESPN Australia really be in trouble?