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Layoffs at ABC News

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CUTBACKS AHEAD ABC News

Now we know why ABC News lost out in the bidding for that Paris Hilton interview. In order to save cash—er, rather, “maintain and enhance the reputation of ABC News for its unparalleled reporting”—news division head David Westin just announced a wave of lay-offs expected to eliminate a total of 35 jobs.

“We regularly take a strategic look at where ABC News stands, where we are going, and what resources we will need to get there,” writes Westin in an e-mail to employees. “So, we’ve begun a two-year process to take a fresh look at ABC News from top to bottom.”

Ironically, ABC News has been surging lately, with Charlie Gibson‘s World News Tonight cementing its lead over the NBC Nightly News and Good Morning America chugging along behind Today. But it seems there’s no time like the present for TV news. NBC News suffered massive job cuts late last year as part of NBC Universal’s company-wide “TV 2.0″ cutbacks.

One knowledgeable TV news insider said ABC News could stand to lose a few bodies. “They’re top-heavy with senior producers,” the source says. The network’s newsmagazines—20/20 and Primetime—and the Washington bureau are expected to bear the brunt of the cuts.

[Full memo after the jump.]

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