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More details emerge in Fox 5 layoffs

Updated September 22, 2020 - 12:42 pm

Fox 5 has shed some big names to cut costs in the era of COVID.

KVVU Channel 5, Las Vegas’ Fox network affiliate, has let go of its station manager and several longtime and popular on-air personalities. The moves came down Thursday and are part of a company-wide, cost-cutting strategy initiated by pandemic-prompted financial concerns.

According to multiple sources familiar with the company’s moves who were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter, such staffers as station manager Terri Peck; “More” producer Toni Gonzales; anchors Rachel Smith, Maria Silva and Christine Maddela; and reporter Jillian Lopez are no longer with the company.

Fox 5 Vice President and General Manager Michael Korr has confirmed parent company Meredith Corporation had cut staff.

He also issued an announcement on behalf of the company:

“Meredith announced initiatives to address the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and position our business for future growth. They include cost-control measures as well as a reallocation of resources to higher-growth areas. These decisions are always difficult to make, and we will miss our colleagues. We are appreciative of their contributions to KVVU Fox 5 and our Las Vegas viewers and wish them well in the future.”

Efforts to reach each of those affected for comment have been unsuccessful. The ex-staffers were no longer listed on the Fox 5 website after it was updated Friday. Most of the station’s graphics department has also reportedly been let go.

Meredith company spokeswoman Kara Kelly, who also did not verify who had been released from Fox 5, said generally those who are no longer with the company are removed from official websites.

Sources say also say a formal list of those who have been laid off has not been distributed among the remaining Fox 5 staff.

Meredith has laid off a total of 180 staffers among a workforce of 5,000 nationwide. About 10 have reportedly lost their jobs in Las Vegas.

RBG memories

Las Vegas attorney James Jimmerson studied law under Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the 1970s. Justice Ginsburg was one of Jimmerson’s constitutional law professors at Columbia Law School in New York in 1975.

“Justice Ginsburg was a delight to learn from, she was a woman who had such a sweet personality,” Jimmerson said in an email, which included the school’s email announcement that Ginsburg’s death Friday was “one of the saddest days for our community.”

“With a keen intellect, Justice Ginsberg added grace and civility to the practice of law,” Jimmerson wrote. The Las Vegas attorney has most recently been in the news as Wayne Newton’s legal counsel in his fight to regain possession of his personal property at the former Casa de Shenandoah.

Stars are in

Elvis tribute artist Travis Allen and his wife, Lady Gaga performer Tierney Allen, have premiered “Stars In Quarantine” on the @StarsInQuarantine Instagram and Facebook pages, and also on the project’s YouTube channel. The series opened Sept. 2 and continues its weekly run at 5 p.m. Wednesday, with Marva Scott as Donna Summer, Coty Alexander as Gwen Stefani and Chad Collins as Luke Bryan.

Travis has most recently starred in “All Shook Up” at V Theater at Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood, and Tierney was in the “Legends in Concert” rotation at Tropicana. You might recall her as the entertainer who fooled Gaga’s Little Monster fans at Haus of Gaga’s opening at Park MGM that she was, in fact, the real Gaga.

‘Le Reve’ revisited

Venerable Vegas guitarist Mundo Juillerat, a member of the “Le Reve” band for 12 years, has premiered a series of videos on his YouTube page about his days with the show. He calls the project “COVID Killed My Gig.” The water spectacular was shut down on Aug. 14.

Juillerat gives a rundown of how the music was performed at the customized theater at Wynn Las Vegas. He also recounts visits to the show by such music luminaries as Brian May of Queen and ex-“Saturday Night Live” guitarist Jared Scharff.

Having culled more than an hour of raw footage from the show, Juillerat relates his experience working with Alan Menken, the eight-time Academy Award-winner brought in to compose a new score for the show (the $3 million effort, which involved the London Symphony Orchestra, was eventually scrapped by Steve Wynn himself).

“It’s all positive, and it was an absolute honor to perform in what I think was the best show in Las Vegas,” Juillerat says. “It feels good to put out that (on the) timeline of my career.”

Juillerat is also founder of The Hot Club of Las Vegas. The gypsy jazz band is in the process of buttoning up a deal with the city of Henderson for a series of streaming concerts. We expect the details within the week.

Hitting a single

Las Vegas vocalist Jonathan Karrant’s new single, “I’d Rather Go Blind,” is now available for download on iTunes and all other digital music platforms. The jazz mix of the famous blues song features an all-Vegas lineup of Patrick Hogan on Hammond B3 and piano, Nick Schmitt on bass and Jeremy Klewicki on drums. The song was mixed and mastered by Josh Connolly. It’s worth a spin, as we used to say in the transistor-radio days.

Tease this

Hearing of an idea to re-animate the Las Vegas Resorts Festival Grounds for a one-off benefit production to help out-of-work entertainment professionals, and also put some acrobatic types back to work. Keep checking back for that, too.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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