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Pinks slips galore at Alliance Atlantis

In a move to consolidate its television and film operations, Canada's Alliance Atlantis has eliminated 80 full-time positions, with the majority of cuts falling on its Toronto headquarters.

The company's television production and distribution divisions are being combined with its in-house motion picture production and distribution activities. The two divisions will now be melded into a new operating unit to be called the Entertainment Group.

{Strategically, this consolidation of our production businesses into a single entity allows us to reap the operating benefits and financial synergies, arising from combining the talents of people skilled in both television and motion picture development, production, financing and distribution,{ said Michael MacMillan, AAC’s chairman and ceo.

The restructuring follows Alliance Atlantis’ announcement in November that it expected to substantially reduce the output of big-budget primetime television hours, and limit the number and size of in-house motion picture productions.

AAC’s evp and cfo Judson Martin stated that the company expects to generate operating cost savings of at least C$7m (US$4.38m), on an annualised basis as a result of the restructuring.

The newly formed division will be led by Peter Sussman, who will take on the role of ceo. Sussman will have overall responsibility for the operations and performance of the Entertainment Group and will be supported by three seasoned AAC execs.

Seaton McLean, president of production for the division, will be responsible for all television and in-house motion picture production activities; Ted Riley, president of distribution, will have worldwide responsibility for Alliance Atlantis' television and in-house motion picture content; and Steve Ord, evp of the Entertainment Group, will head up the financial, legal and business affairs of the division.

Victor Loewy, ceo of the company's motion picture distribution group, will spearhead the future growth of the company’s feature film releasing business in both Canada and the UK. He'll be supported by president Patrice Theroux, and David Kosse, managing director of Momentum Pictures in the UK.

The company's broadcast group, which represents 18 speciality channels, remains under the leadership of Phyllis Yaffe, who will guide the division in her ongoing capacity as ceo along with Mark Rubinstein, the group's president and coo.

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