20th Digital Studio Dissolved, Quarter of D23 Staff Let Go During Round 2 of Disney Layoffs

Shannen Ace

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20th Digital Studio Dissolved, Quarter of D23 Staff Let Go During Round 2 of Disney Layoffs

The second round of The Walt Disney Company’s 7,000 planned layoffs has begun, with several members of the company’s entertainment division laid off yesterday. Deadline reports that the layoffs have also hit 20th Digital Studio and D23.

20th Digital Studio & D23

20th digital studio and d23 logos

20th Digital Studio, which produced web content and was a subsidiary of 20th Century Studios, has been dissolved. Executive Vice President David Worthen Brooks will transition into a first-look deal with Hulu as an independent producer.

Founded in 2008, 20th Digital Studio was previously known as Fox Digital Studio and Zero Day Fox. It was acquired by Disney in 2019 and renamed in 2020. Some of 20th Digital Studio’s past productions include “Grimcutty,” “Matriarch,” “Bite Size Halloween,” and “Bad Samaritans.” Upcoming projects are “Clock,” “Appendage,” and “The Mill.”

Some sources indicate that more than a quarter of the staff of D23, the official fan club for The Walt Disney Company, has been cut. The exact number of layoffs is not available. The department may be restructured.

D23 was created in 2009. D23 hosts D23 Expo in California approximately every two years and the smaller Destination D23 on the off years. D23 Expo Japan began in 2013.

Yesterday, it was announced that the Disney TV Studios’ marketing department is being dissolved. The various outlets that the department produces for (like ABC and Hulu) will handle their own marketing from now on.

Disney expects to reach 4,000 total layoffs by Thursday this week, cutting 15% of the entertainment division.

The Walt Disney Company Layoffs

Bob Iger

Executives at The Walt Disney Company were asked by Iger to identify thousands of potential layoff candidates in an effort to cut nearly $5.5 billion in costs. Iger is reportedly on “a push for profitability” as his return to the company continues and the letting go of executives is reportedly just the start.

The first round of layoffs began in late March. Senior Vice President of Production for Hulu, Mark Levenstein, and Senior VP of Production Management & Operations For Freeform, Jayne Bieber, were among the first executives to be let go. Also laid off was VP of Corporate Communications for The Walt Disney Company, Jeffrey R. Epstein, and Marvel Entertainment Chairman, Ike PerlumutterDisney’s “Metaverse” team was also terminated.

The company’s restructuring comes after previous CEO Bob Chapek was fired last November. Though many changes have already been made within the company after his exit, the stock price continues to be an issue. The majority of job cuts waited until after the April 3 shareholders meeting.

A staff memo from Disney Entertainment Co-Chairmen Alan Bergman and Dana Walden informed employees that affected workers would be notified from Monday through Thursday.

An additional, final round of layoffs will take effect before the start of summer 2023. 

The layoffs are not set to affect regular theme park employees. Approximately 28,000 Cast Members were already laid off during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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