Leaves of summer
Cartoon's Cohen, WB's Daniels and UPN's Nunan are going
By Susanne Ault and Allison Romano -- Broadcasting & Cable, 6/17/2001 8:00:00 PM
All in one week. Cartoon Network President Betty Cohen stepped down Friday after 10 years, and UPN's Tom Nunan and The WB's Susanne Daniels are leaving their top programming jobs, too.
Cohen is staying in the AOL Time Warner family to develop multiplatform content aimed at young adults and teens.
Both Nunan and Daniels are looking to pursue other opportunities: Nunan, UPN's entertainment president, is hunting new challenges that UPN can't offer; Daniels, co-president of entertainment at The WB, is looking to spend more time with her just-born third child and hoping to take on a time-freeing, independent TV role. Nothing has been made official, but each network is apparently finalizing its executive's exit.
Cohen said management changes at Turner Broadcasting, which brought in AOL Time Warner COO Bob Pittman and TBS CEO Jamie Kellner, instigated her resignation—but in a positive way: "They understood what it was to build Cartoon Network up, and I felt the entrepreneurial need to start something new again. That's how Jamie and Bob have been in their careers."
She is staying at Turner Broadcasting and will work with AOL to create an interactive product that mixes entertainment and educational content. She won't give details, but hopes it will be ready by year's end.
Brad Siegel, Turner's president of general entertainment, will take Cartoon Network under his umbrella, which also includes TBS, TNT, Turner Classic Movies and Turner South.
In Nunan's case, CBS's new ownership position at UPN paves the way for Viacom/CBS to better assert itself. But, he dismisses talk that Viacom wanted a CBS executive in his spot.
"I didn't have any pressure to leave. It was my decision," he said, pointing out that he has taken the reins in finding his replacement. Right now, "there's no one inside the Viacom family who's come up. There's nobody available at CBS who I think would be interested."
Also, TV insiders noted, Nunan stayed six months past his current UPN contract to make sure things were in order before he left. "I definitely reached the end of my growth curve here," he said, adding, "There's stuff within Viacom that interests me a lot. But nothing concrete.
"Had there been opportunity for me to grow, I would have stuck around. But there's only one of those jobs, and Dean's got it. And he's doing great," Nunan said of his boss, UPN CEO Dean Valentine.
Daniels "just had her third kid and wanted to do something entrepreneurial," insisted a WB source. She has been pondering this move ever since naming Jordan Levin co-president just prior to taking maternity leave. Levin will continue.
Her move does "play into opportunities she now sees with Turner being a bigger template," the source added. Daniels may believe juicier career opportunities will materialize at AOL Time Warner.
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