With savings of£100m to make, it seems certain that ITV's regional franchises will feel the pinch as some of the network's most well-known buildings are sold off and staff are moved on.
When ITV chief executive designate Charles Allen surprised the City last week by revealing he was nearly doubling his intended savings from the merger of Carlton and Granada to£100m - staff at the pair's 12 regional ITV franchises winced.
It is widely expected that the bold new target will be met by cutting regional jobs, selling numerous offices and relinquishing long leases. The slim down is designed to reflect the creeping London centralisation of network programming and the reduction of prescribed regional hours. (Each franchise must produce only 8.5 hours of regional content a week.)
Not being sentimental about bricks and mortar is Allen's mantra. He plans to sell Granada's historic Quay Street building, with staff moving to a nearby former bonded warehouse. Tyne Tees Television's City Road HQ in Newcastle is under review and is likely to be sold soon, as is Carlton's underutilised Nottingham studios, fatally hit by the axing of Crossroads. Carlton's Knightsbridge head office is already on the market.
There are also suggestions that Granada's Anglia studios in Norwich will be auctioned off despite chat show host Trisha's determination to keep her show in the region so she can continue her short commute from her nearby home. Granada is poised to move out of its leased Albert Docks studios - former home of This Morning. Insiders say there may be some natural wastage of jobs as desks are shifted. They cite the Meridian experience, where the workforce could be halved, with up to 175 jobs going as part of a move to a new studio in Fareham.
The other scenario, say those close to the process, is "death by a thousand cuts", with jobs axed on a week-by-week basis. Indeed, some evidence of this is already apparent. Last week plans emerged for six senior producer jobs to go at Central and about 20 cuts across the board at Anglia.
The top management tier of regional broadcasting is slowly being stripped away. Instead of having both a managing director and a director of programmes
at each franchise, the two roles will be merged into one job in smaller regions.
This has already taken place at Tyne Tees, with the departure of managing director Margaret Fay, and director of programmes Graeme Thompson's elevation to a broader MD role. Border has also merged the director of programmes and MD roles, and has given the job to Paddy Merrall, the current managing director.
The endgame, predict senior ITV regional figures, is that ITV plc's regions - with the exception of places like Granada Manchester and Yorkshire in Leeds, which make hundreds of hours of network programmes - will just stick to regional news and current affairs.
Local independents are tipped to take up the slack, helping the newly merged company meet its ITC (soon Ofcom) enforced 8.5 hours.