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Disney Layoffs Reach the Animation and Kids Divisions

Disney TV Animation’s SVP of Current Series Khaki Jones and VP of the Kids Unit Claire McCabe have been let go as part of a company-wide initiative to save $5.5 billion in costs.

Disney’s series of 7,000 layoffs, which began in late March, has now reached its animation and kids divisions. Disney TV Animation’s SVP of Current Series, Khaki Jones, is leaving after 13 years with the studio. Jones supervised all series and short-form content produced for Disney’s linear channels and Disney+. Also on the chopping block are Claire McCabe and Meghan de Boer, VP and Executive Director of the Kids Unit, respectively. Both execs were promoted only a year prior to develop unscripted kids’ projects based on existing Disney IPs.

The multi-phase layoff plan was originally ordered by Disney CEO Bob Iger in February to reduce costs by $5.5 billion. In the process, Marvel Entertainment was absorbed into the company last month, and Disney chairman Isaac “Ike” Perlmutter was axed after decades of service, despite being instrumental to the success of the MCU.

In the face of looming layoffs in animation, Iger revealed in early February that the company is moving ahead with sequels for the FrozenToy Story, and Zootopia franchises. While the news of upcoming sequels is exciting, the decision is most likely in the name of boosting a sagging stock price. In addition to the ongoing cost cutting, the company is betting on franchises that have a history of making major dough. Frozen 2 took in $1.45 billion in 2019, while Pixar’s Toy Story 4 earned $1.07 billion in 2019 and Zootopia netted $1.02 billion in 2016. Compared to newer films, such as the disappointing Strange World, tried and true titles are the safest monetary bets.

No word yet on any other exec or staff cuts in TV or feature film animation; reductions at ABC and Freeform are supposedly imminent.

Laurén Alexa's picture

Journalist, antique shop owner, aspiring gemologist—Laurén brings a diverse perspective to animation, where every frame reflects her varied passions.