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Ax Falls on ABC News, Viacom, Marc Jacobs Holiday Fetes, While News Corp. Parties On

Dispatches from the great holiday party flush of 2008 continue. After word came last week that ABC News joined media groups like Hearst by dropping its annual bureau parties in New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, big celebrations for Marc Jacobs and Viacom officially fell off the schedule over the past 24 hours, while the rumored cancellation of the News Corps. party proved a bit of an overreaction.

In an email from Viacom heads Philippe Dauman and Tom Dooley published by Gawker, the duo took the release of the company’s third quarter results as an opportunity to drop the holiday-party bomb. The cancellation probably won’t upset too many staffers though: In lieu of divisional or corporate celebrations, Viacom staffers—at least those who are still around after this week’s anticipated round of layoffs—get an extra two days of vacation between December 22 and January 1.

Designer Marc Jacobs, who released details of his extravagant holiday masquerade ball just a few weeks ago, nixed the ”Rock and Roll Circus” themed event earlier this afternoon. Business partner Robert Duffy took the blame in an email, published today by WWD, explaining, “Due to the financial climate, I had to make the decision to cancel the 2008 holiday party.”

And contrary to reports yesterday, News Corp.’s annual holiday party hasn’t joined the slew of others in disappearing altogether. Portfolio reporter Jeff Bercovici confirmed with a “well-placed source” (and a News Corp. spokeswoman) this afternoon that the ditching of the annual event at the Midtown Hilton is the result of company growth, not finances. The party budget now falls to individual departments to use as they wish.

All of these cutbacks aren't limited to just the largest media firms. Men's Health publIsher Rodale announced in today's issue of WWD that its annual holiday party—held at the Bryant Park Hotel in 2007—would be in-house this year to eliminate costs.