Fox TV producers asked to trim budgets 2 percent

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- News Corp.'s 20th Century Fox Television studio has asked producers of shows such as Fox's "24" and "My Name is Earl," produced for NBC, to trim their budgets this season by 2 percent, a spokesman said Wednesday.

The cuts will affect between 16 and 20 shows currently in production, but will probably not result in layoffs, said spokesman Chris Alexander.

"We don't anticipate that there will be any layoffs. Where the cuts will be made will be at the discretion of every show runner," he said. "Everyone understands that revenues are down and these steps are necessary to protect our business."

The move is part of a wider cost-cutting initiative at News Corp.'s Fox properties, from TV stations and the film studio to MySpace, as advertising revenue has fallen across all media. The company has been cutting travel and entertainment budgets and leaving vacant jobs unfilled.

The Walt Disney Co.'s ABC Studios made a similar 2 percent budget cut across its TV shows in November.

CBS Corp. said Tuesday that it laid off a small number of executives and staff at its in-house programming arm, CBS Entertainment, and its production studio, CBS Paramount Network TV.

Earlier this month, General Electric Co.'s NBC Universal cut 500 positions, or 3 percent of its work force; and Viacom Inc., owner of the MTV and BET networks, laid off 850, a 7 percent reduction.

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