NBC Sports Boston has been hit hard by a decision from parent company NBCUniversal to slash its digital and regional cable staffs the past two days.
Nearly 20 on-air, production, and other behind-the-scenes staffers at NBCSB were laid off Monday and Tuesday, including longtime anchor Gary Tanguay, Celtics sideline reporter Abby Chin, and Celtics reporter A. Sherrod Blakely.
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Bruins reporter Joe Haggerty, who like Blakely was one of the team-centric reporters the network hired when it relaunched in November 2009, and host Danielle Trotta also were let go.
Among those confirmed to be remaining at the network are hosts Michael Holley and Kyle Draper, Patriots reporter and “Quick Slants” host Tom E. Curran, Patriots reporter Phil Perry, Red Sox reporter John Tomase, Celtics reporter Chris Forsberg, and hosts Trenni Kusnierek, Tom Giles, and DJ Bean.
While programming similar to “Early Edition” and “Boston Sports Tonight” have been cut or reduced at other NBC regional networks, the two shows will remain on the air.
The timing in letting go of Chin and Blakely in particular is curious considering NBCSB is the regional home of the Celtics and the NBA relaunched its season last week after being shut down because of the pandemic.
According to multiple sources, the network may keep some laid-off staffers around for 60 days. Blakely, whose contract is up in October, will stay on through the remainder of the Celtics season before beginning a teaching job at Boston University in the fall. Haggerty will remain through the Bruins’ postseason run.
The decision to cut staff comes from corporate parent NBCUniversal, which also has cut regional staffs in Chicago, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and San Francisco the past couple of days.
NBCUniversal, which, like other sports media companies, has had to deal with the financial fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, also cut its NBC Sports digital staff Monday, doing away with its popular “Hardball Talk” baseball blog, among other properties.
NBC Sports Boston confirmed the cuts, but did not provide a statement.