A new Dawn at UPN
By Joe Schlosser and John Higgins -- Broadcasting & Cable, 1/27/2002 7:00:00 PM
Days after naming Dawn Tarnofsky-Ostroff UPN president of entertainment, CBS chief Les Moonves dropped another shoe: UPN's scheduling, marketing, sales and media-relations departments will report to their CBS counterparts.
Also last Friday, Moonves announced that Adam Ware will retain his UPN post as chief operating officer.
It would appear that the new reporting structure gives the UPN president less autonomy.
Tarnofsky-Ostroff, who has been running Lifetime Television's successful programming division since 1996, will report to Moonves, who assumed control of the Viacom-owned network late last year.
He has known her since she was starting out as an assistant at Twentieth Century Fox Television in the early '80s.
"Les was always so great to me when we were at Twentieth Century Fox, and he's always kept in touch and been supportive," says Tarnofsky-Ostroff. "Obviously, leaving Lifetime is a tough thing to do, but I jumped on the chance to work with Les. I have a great deal of respect for him."
Moonves, still evaluating UPN's staff and potential cross-overs with CBS, says Tarnofsky-Ostroff is perfect for the job: "She has been a successful programming executive on both sides of the process, for Lifetime and as a producer with some top production companies."
Tarnofsky-Ostroff helped build Lifetime into the highest-rated basic-cable channel with a mix of original shows and films. Its Strong Medicine, Any Day Now and The Division are the highest-rated original dramas on basic cable. Prior to joining Lifetime, she was senior vice president of creative affairs at Twentieth Century Fox Television, developing such series as King of the Hill, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Practice.
"I'm going to roll up my sleeves, figure out what's working and what's not," says Tarnofsky-Ostroff, who officially starts at UPN Feb. 11. "I come from cable, where having a brand is so important, and I think, at UPN, we can create a more cohesive brand and really bring all the nights together under one identity."
Russ Krasnoff, president of programming, Columbia TriStar Domestic TV, who has worked with Tarnofsky-Ostroff on several projects, said: "She knows how to build around a brand. That's what UPN needs."
She assumes a post that has been vacant since Tom Nunan's departure early last year.
Lifetime Chairman Carole Black said: "This is the next logical step in a creative career. I feel very, very proud for her."
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