Fates & Fortunes Round-Up: Feb. 15 – Feb. 22, 2010

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With the moguls, the half-pipe and men’s figure skating all complete, my Olympics-watching has waned, although I have been trying to translate what I’ve been seeing to my skiing and so far not good at all. Denver’s NBC affiliate, KUSA (shameless local plug), did a piece on how to not feel bad about yourself for not being an Olympic athlete. I’m pretty sure they were directing it right at me. As always, you can follow Fates on Twitter @BCFates or me personally @PaigeA if you don’t mind a constant stream of snow tweets. Forward fates to me at BCFates@gmail.com or at palbiniak@gmail.com.

Programming Prospects

Sony Pictures Television’s head of current programming, Jeanie Bradley, is leaving the studio after 25 years as part of the wave of layoffs expected to hit Sony Pictures Entertainment this week.  Bradley was named EVP in 1999, and previously was EVP, current programming. Two other programming execs in Bradley’s department are also leaving as part of a company-wide layoff that is seeing 450 people lose their jobs. Debra Curtis, VP of current programming, and Rose Lee, manager of current programming also are departing the company, reports the Hollywood Reporter.

Andy Weissberg has been named Animal Planet’s VP of program planning and scheduling. He jumps to the network from the History Channel, where he was director of program scheduling and acquisitions. He is based in New York.

Susan Sheppard has been named SVP, business and legal affairs for RHI Entertainment. Sheppard joins RHI after serving as SVP, business & legal affairs for BBC Worldwide America.

Corporate Changes

Geri Wang was named president of sales and marketing at ABC TV Networks, replacing Mike Shaw who stepped down from the position at the end of last year. Wang is currently ABC’s SVP of primetime sales, and has been with the company since 1990.

Ed Adler, head of Time Warner’s corporate communications for time immemorial, is leaving the company after a transition period, reports PR Newser.

Johanna Fuentes has been named VP, corporate public relations, at premium cable network Showtime. She comes to the network from Bravo and she will be based in New York.

Station Switches

Gary Schneider has been named president/GM of CBS-owned KTVT/KTXA Dallas-Ft.  Worth, where he’s been SVP and station manager since August 2004, and GM since December.

WXVT Greenville (Miss.) VP/General Manager Darren Lehrmann has been named VP/GM at Nexstar’s Fox affiliate KBTV Beaumont/Port Arthur, Texas.  He has run WXVT since 2005. Prior to that, he was general sales manager for Saga Communications in Victoria, Texas.

Dominic Mancuso has been named GM at Sinclair’s WZTV-WUXP combo in Nashville, a Fox-MyNetworkTV duopoly. He’ll also oversee sales and other non-programming services for the CW outlet WNAB, which is owned by Lambert Broadcasting. Mancuso previously was VP of programming and promotions at WFLD/WPWR Chicago. From 1987 to 2005, he held various management roles at WGN Chicago, including station manager, director of sales and national sales manager.

Journalism Jumps

Gerri Willis (pictured left), personal finance editor for CNN Business News and someone I’ve always enjoyed watching, is departing CNN after seven years at the network, reports TVNewser. Willis has appeared on a variety of programs across the CNN, CNNI, and HLN family, including CNN’s “American Morning,” since she began with the network in March of 2003, when she came over from her post at Smart Money magazine.

I’m not really sure under which category to characterize this, but former child star and ongoing broadcasting personality Danny Bonaduce is getting his own segment on CBS-owned CW affiliate WPSG Philadelphia. Bonaduce also hosts morning drive-time radio show, The Danny Bonaduce Show, on CBS’ radio station 94WYSP. The segment, “According to Danny,” will air each weekday morning for two to three minutes live via the Internet.

Bonaduce goes on Philadelphia’s air just as Larry Mendte, 53, moves his act to New York City, where he will provide pieces for Tribune-owned WPIX five nights a week, reports Philly.com. Mendte had been off the air since his highly publicized firing from the station in June 2008 after an FBI investigation found he had hacked into former co-worker Alycia Lane’s e-mail account. That investigation resulted in Mendte being charged with a felony, but his lawyer is working to downgrade the charge. Meanwhile, WPIX GM Bill Carey told Philly.com: “He’s one of the top writer/producer/storytellers in television. Larry’s work speaks for itself.”

Former KRON San Francisco anchor Chris Murphy has left KPTV Portland, Ore., for KGW Portland, Ore., where he’ll be a morning reporter and fill-in anchor, reports Oregon Media Central. He replaces Teresa Yuan, who’s moving to KING Seattle. Murphy returned to KPTV last year after working there from 2000-2002, but like most TV stations, KPTV is undergoing layoffs, outsourcing and a transition to automation. Prior to his return to Portland, Murphy was at Young-owned KRON San Francisco.

Aaron Gilchrist, anchor at NBC affiliate WWBT Richmond, Va., is joining NBC’s WRC Washington, D.C., where he will co-anchor weekend mornings and contribute during the week, reports the Richmond Style Weekly.

Multiplatform Moves

Kelli Callanan has been named VP of marketing at NBC Universal owned iVillage. Callanan was senior director of integrated marketing at MTV.

Tech Trades

Ed DeLauter and Doug Jackson have joined broadcast technology supplier OmniBus Systems, reports TVNewsCheck. DeLauter will be a senior project manager based in New York, while Jackson will head strategic account management in Los Angeles.


Jana Bennett, director of BBC Vision, has been appointed to the executive committee of the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

In Memoriam

Howard Marcantel, CTAM’s VP of educational events, died suddenly after a heart attack on Feb. 15, reports Multichannel News. He was 47 years old.

Walt Crawford, photojournalist at WJLA Washington, D.C., died Sunday, Feb. 14. Crawford had worked for the station for 28 years and had just received a first-place award for lighting from the White House News Photographers Association.

Washington, D.C. , lost another broadcast industry vet on Feb. 10, when broadcast engineer Clyde Roller, 85, died at Laurel Regional Hospital, reports the Washington Post. The Silver Spring, Md.-resident is survived by his wife of 65 years, Marie Graham Roller; two sons, Rick and Robert; four grandchildren; and a great-grandson.

Another veteran broadcaster, Terry Gerstner Sr., 83, died Feb. 10 of complications from Parkinson’s disease at Southeast Louisiana War Veterans Home in Reserve, reports the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Gerstner worked at WDSU New Orleans for nearly 40 years, starting as an engineer and then becoming a floor director. He retired as a director. He is survived by his wife, Amelia Mae, a daughter, Deborah Gerstner-Wolf of Baton Rouge, and two grandchildren.