Fates & Fortunes Round-Up: April 26 – May 3, 2010 - Broadcasting & Cable

Fates & Fortunes Round-Up: April 26 – May 3, 2010

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We’re feeling short and sweet today so let’s get to it.

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Big Kahunas

Tribune Company COO Jerry Kersting, 60, has been named president of Tribune Broadcasting, replacing Ed Wilson who exited the company on Friday, April 30. Kersting joined Tribune as executive VP in 2008. Prior to that, he had been executive VP/CFO of Clear Channel Radio since 1999. In total, Kersting worked for Clear Channel for 34 years. Tribune is undergoing some restructuring at the management level as it anticipates exiting bankruptcy at the end of this year.

Nancy Dubuc has been named president and general manager of Lifetime Networks. Dubuc has been at the helm of AETN’s History Channel for three years, where she’s shepherded the net to ratings highs. Dubuc remains as president/GM of History and replaces Andrea Wong, who is leaving Lifetime after a nearly three-year tenure marked by the expensive court battle for Project Runway.

Speaking of Wong, she joined the board of Liberty Media Corp. late last month.

Programming Prospects

Dr. Drew Pinksy has formed his own production company which will produce unscripted shows featuring Dr. Drew and other talent. Dr. Drew is partnering with his longtime manager Howard Lapides on the venture. The first project is a pilot, Estranged With Dr. Drew, where couples decide if they want to reunite or separate. Dr. Drew also is shooting a pilot of Lifechangers with Warner Bros.’ Telepictures division, potentially for syndication.  Dr. Drew is the star of VH1’s Celebrity Rehab franchise and hosts MTV’s incredibly creepily titled Sex … With Mom and Dad.

Noriko Gee has been promoted to CBS’ VP of programming planning and scheduling. She had been director of program planning and scheduling at the network since May 2007.

Ovation Television has named Ellen Schned senior VP, distribution. Previously, she was SVP, affiliate marketing and distribution at CBS College Sports.

Beth Greenwald and Jennifer Gwartz each have been hired at development SVPs at FishBowl Worldwide Media, the new production company from Vin Di Bona and Bruce Gersh. Prior to joining FishBowl, Greenwald was VP, original programming and series development at E! Entertainment. Gwartz most recently co-EP on the CBs’ series Cupid and EP on Starz’ brilliant but mostly unseen Party Down. She’s also worked with Party Down creator Rob Thomas on UPN’s Veronica Mars and ABC’s Big Shots. Gwartz previously was co-head of Joel Silver’s TV shingle at Warner Bros.

Ross Babbit, Julie Taylor and Kevin Chorlins all have been promoted to VP at the DIY Network. Babbit, who joined DIY in 2004 as programming director, becomes VP of programming partnerships and special projects. Taylor moved up to VP of program planning. She also joined DIY in 2004 as director of program administration. Prior to that, she had been production manager for Scripps Productions since 2000. Chorlins was named VP of consumer marketing. He joined the network in 2007 as director of consumer marketing.

British comedian Ricky Gervais will again serve as emcee at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s 2011 Golden Globes scheduled to air on NBC on Jan. 16 from the Beverly Hills Hotel. This year, the Globes were up 12% to 17 million viewers.

Terry Gannon has joined Golf Channel’s live tournament team to cover the PGA and LPGA Tours. Gannon’s contract runs through 2013. A veteran sportscaster, Gannon also has hosted broadcasts of college football, college basketball, World Cup soccer and the Olympics. He’s been the voice of figure skating for 14 years, and is a three-time host of both the Tour de France and the Little League World Series. He began his career in 1988 with ESPN.

Journalism Jumps

CNBC Asia anchor Amanda Drury is coming stateside to become business day anchor at New York-based CNBC, reports TVNewser. Drury starts May 10, filling in for Melissa Francison CNBC’s The Call while Francis goes out on maternity leave. Drury was most recently based out of Sydney, Australia, her home country, where she anchored CNBC Asia Pacific’s Squawk Box and Cash Flow. Prior to that she’d been based out of Singapore for a number of years.

Honolulu Advertiser editor Mark Platte has been named news director of Hawaii News Now, replacing departing news director Chris Archer.

WBAL Baltimore’s award-winning team of investigative reporter John Sherman and photographer Beau Kershaw are leaving the station to go full time at their Baltimore-based video marketing firm, Storyfarm New Media, which they started two years ago.

Lori Burgess, publisher of celebrity tabloid OK! Magazine since September 2008, has been named publisher of e5 Global Media’s The Hollywood Reporter, reports min. Burgess is a past publisher of Seventeen, Mademoiselle, Elle, House & Garden and Jason Binn’s .

Station Switches

CBS Corp. finance veteran Michele Scaringella has been named EVP/CFO of the CBS Television Stations. Scaringella has served as CBS Corp.’s senior VP, internal audit, since January 2006. Rick Baran, the CBS stations’ previous CFO, remains with the group in a new SVP of ops role. Mike Wittman, 33-year CBS veteran who has served as VP of finance for the CBS-owned stations since 2005, has been promoted to the division’s SVP/controller.

Marty Wilke, Tribune-owned WGN’s VP/GM, is assuming oversight for Chicago’s cable news station, CLTV. Steve Farber, who has served as CLTV’s GM since 2006, has been named VP/ops for both stations.

Former WTSP Tampa President/GM Sam Rosenwasser has been named VP/GM at Scripps-owned WEWS Cleveland. Viki Regan departed the Scripps-owned station in late March. Rosenwasser announced his retirement from WTSP at the end of 2008. During his time in Tampa, Rosenwasser also was named SVP for Gannett Television in January 2001. Prior to his seven years at WTSP, Rosenwasser, 57, was president/GM of KVUE Austin and held the same title at KXTV Sacramento. Born in El Paso, Rosenwasser’s career began in the WFAA Dallas newsroom.

Mark Huey has been named VP, national sales, at Spanish-language broadcaster Lieberman Broadcasting. Most recently, Huey was a sales executive at Adlink Cable Advertising, a Los Angeles-based company owned by Time Warner, Charter Communications, and Cox Cable Communications, that sells media time and distributes advertising on 44 cable networks. Huey also held several ad positions during his six years at Telemundo.

News anchor Kevin Roy was let go by ABC-owned WLS Chicago after missing his third shift without notice. Roy’s contract was set to expire later this year. Roy blamed “physical exhaustion” for the incident, reports the Chicago Tribune.”By failing to show up at my appointed time, I abused the station’s reliance on me,” Roy said in his statement.

Jim Abath and Karla Redditte are the new anchor team at Raycom’s WAFF Huntsville, Ala.  Abath comes to the station from WPBF West Palm Beach, Fla. Reddite most recently was the morning news anchor at WTOC Savannah.

Anchor Kim Hendrix is stepping down at WSFA Montgomery, Ala. After 20 years at the station, she will become the director of development at the Saint James School in Montgomery.

Joe Joyce joins WBZ Boston as weekend morning meteorologist and weekday environmental reporter. He comes to the station from Needham, Mass.-based New England Cable News, where he was the weekend meteorologist since 1997.

Dick Daly, senior consultant at public TV station WNED Buffalo, is retiring after more than 50 years. Daly has been with WNED since 1987, when he was hired as radio VP. In 1993 he became SVP of broadcasting. Daly’s broadcasting career began in 1957 in Minnesota as a reporter, news director, and news editor. In 1967, he was an accredited correspondent reporting on the Vietnam War for NBC affiliate WDSM in Duluth, Minn. Daly moved to Minnesota Public Radio in 1973.

Corporate changes

Christoph Pachler has been named EVP/CFO. He comes to Playboy from Sony Pictures Entertainment where he was SVP of strategy and operations. Robert Campbell, who has served as interim CFO since the end of 2009, will report to Pachler.

Dana Runnels has been promoted to VP marketing and communications at Canoe Ventures, the joint advertising venture launched by the nation’s six largest cable operators. Runnells has managed Canoe’s media relations and strategic communications since joining the company in December 2008. Prior to joining Canoe, Runnells had been senior communications director at Comcast Spotlight, the advertising sales division of Comcast Cable, since 2003.

Multiplatform Moves

Zander Lurie, EVP/ CFO for CBS Interactive, has been named SVP of strategic development for parent company, CBS Corp. Zander is formerly CFO of CNET, which was purchased by CBS. Before that he was with JPMorgan dealing with Internet mergers and acquisitions.

Associations

Bob Pisano, currently the acting chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America, has been named chairman of the troubled Motion Picture and Television Fund’s board of directors. Pisano succeeds Frank Mancuso, who served in the post since 2003. As part of its work, the MPTF funds a hospital and long-term care facility for those who have worked in the entertainment industry. The rising costs of health care and reduced giving is forcing the MPTF to close down the facility and transfer resident to other facilities, a decision that is causing a great deal of strife between the fund and the residents of the facility and their families, with about 60 residents refusing to leave. In February, MPTF president and CEO David Tilman was ousted and replaced by Bob Beitcher, interim president and CEO.

Harvey Seslowsky has been named EVP, business development, at the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS). Previously, Seslowsky was president/COO of Media & Entertainment Holdings, Inc.

In Memoriam

Actress Lynn Redgrave, 67, died Sunday, May 2, in her Manhattan apartment. Redgrave was the Oscar- and Tony-nominated sister of Vanessa Redgrave. Her death comes just one year after her niece, actress Natasha Richardson, died from head injuries sustained in a skiing accident and one month after the death of her older brother, Corin Redgrave.

Actress Helen Wagner, 91, who played mild-mannered Nancy Hughes on the CBS soap opera As the World Turns for more than a half-century and spoke its first words, died on Saturday, May 1. She held the Guinness World Record – 54 years — for playing the same role on television for the longest amount of time. She was still part of the cast, though with a small presence, in December 2009, when CBS announced that “As the World Turns” was being canceled and its last episode would air in September 2010. Her final appearance aired April 5, in an episode in which movie star Julianne Moore, a series regular in the 1980s whose two half-sister characters played Wagner’s granddaughters, returned for a guest walk-on. The episode was taped in March.

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