Fates and Fortunes

Cerio to head cable sales at Warners

4/21/2009 06:36:46 PM

Tommy Cerio, one of syndication’s favorite sons, is swapping jobs.

He’s moving over to Warner Bros. Television Distribution Cable Sales to serve as one of Ken Werner’s top lieutenants. If you recall, Werner consolidated power over at Warners in January 2008 when he became head of both domestic broadcast and cable television distribution. When that happened, Eric Frankel, Warners’ head of cable sales, departed. I actually was a little surprised to hear that Cerio was filling that spot because I figured if no one had been brought on board yet, no one would be.

Prior to this, Cerio worked with Scott Carlin selling HBO’s shows, but many sources say there just wasn’t enough for two top sales guys to do at the premium network, even though they are in the middle of selling Curb Your Enthusiasm and Entourage. With a job opening at Warners and an already great relationship with Werner, it made sense for Cerio to make the move.

“Tom Cerio is one of the most talented and innovative distribution executives in the television industry. Over the span of his career, he has proven to be an outstanding leader, possessing great vision, and whose judgment and ability has created an unshakeable bond of trust and confidence with his clients,” said WBDTD President Ken Werner in a statement. “We know Tom will make an already strong team stronger, and we are thrilled to welcome him to Warner Bros.”

No additional changes are expected at HBO syndication sales, with Carlin expected to stay on, according to sources.

WBDTD and HBO are both owned by Time Warner, so there are times when their paths cross. For example, Carlin and Cerio sold Sex and the City to bigger clients, such as TBS and Tribune, while Warner Bros.’ sales team handled smaller markets, barter sales and back-room functions. Expect that to happen again with Curb and Entourage.

Cerio should have his hands a bit fuller at Warner Bros., where he’ll be charged with selling basic cable shows such as The Closer and Nip/Tuck as well as off-network broadcast shows such as Big Bang Theory, Supernatural, Gossip Girl, and the third cycle of Friends.

No one that knows Cerio has a bad word to say about him.

“We worked together for 14 years at Disney and it’s not often that your boss ends up becoming your best friend,” says John Bryan, executive vice president, broadcast strategy, MGM Television.

 “Tommy Cerio has some of the best relationships in the business,” said Bill Carroll, vice president, programming, Katz Television.

“Tom Cerio is a terrific salesman, said October Moon President Chuck Larsen.  “He’s an excellent choice.”

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