Faced with a bad combination of the recent writers' strike and declining ratings, the CW handed out pinkslips Monday, dramatically downsizing its comedy department.

According to Variety, more than 25 staffmembers have been let go -- including Kim Fleary, the CW's exec VP of comedy development, and her No. 2, senior VP of comedy Steve Veisel.

While the comedy department was eliminated, the CW has merged its remaining drama and current programming units into one scripted series department. Drama exec VP Thom Sherman and current programs exec VP Michael Roberts remain.

News came the same day the CW gave fall pickups to several of its long-running signature skeins, as well as frosh entry Gossip Girl. But the late-afternoon reorganization overshadowed that announcement.

In a statement, the CW said it was "restructuring some programming and marketing functions as part of an effort to streamline both areas."

"As part of the restructuring, some open positions at the network will not be filled and a small percentage of jobs have been eliminated," the net said.

As for the comedy cut, CW execs noted the network isn't out of the comedy game, having just renewed Everybody Hates Chris. But just like predecessor the WB, the CW has struggled with introducing new comedies, and is now opting to focus most of its attention on developing more signature dramas in the vein of Gossip Girl and alternative entries a la America's Next Top Model.

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