Fates & Fortunes Round-Up: March 16-23, 2010


Nominations are now open for B&C’s 2010 Next Wave of Leaders, our annual compilation of industry rising stars. We’re looking for people who are young, innovative and on the way up. Send suggestions to bncletters@nbmedia.com by March 30 at noon ET.

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Programming Prospects

The Hub, the new children’s network from Hasbro and Discovery, has appointed six new senior executives across programming and operations. New to the network are Joshua Meyer as SVP of business and legal affairs; Jordan Beck as VP of creative services and on-air promotions; Lou Fazio as VP of scheduling, acquisitions and planning; Greg Heanue as VP of marketing and promotions; Fred Poston as VP of operations; and Michael Ross as VP of production and post-production.

Emmy-winner Marc Hirschfield, formerly NBC’s top casting exec, has contracted with Starz Media to work as a consultant on Starz’ premium channels. Prior to joining NBC in 1999, Hirschfield owned his own casting company with Meg Liberman.

Beth Miyares has joined CBS TV Studios as VP of drama development, reports THR. She will oversee development of hourlong projects, reporting to SVP of Drama Julie McNamara. Miyares previously was VP of current programming at Fox, and prior to that she was director of programming at UPN.

Journalism Jumps

As reported, Christiane Amanpour is leaving CNN to become moderator of ABC’s Sunday morning politics-fest, This Week.The Washington Post’s Tom Shales wonders whether the internationally-focused Amanpour is the right choice for the job.

Alison Stewart and Jon Meacham have been named co-hosts of WNET.org’s new public affairs program Need to Know. The show, which is being billed as a TV/web hybrid where stories developed on the show’s website will culminate on the weekly broadcast, launches May 7 at 8:30 p.m. on the majority of PBS’ 356 member stations. Stewart, an NPR vet who was also a contributor to MSNBC, where her husband Bill Wolff is EP of The Rachel Maddow Show, will be exclusive to Need to Know. Meacham will remain in his current capacity as editor of Newsweek.

Nadine Woodward is moving across town to join the KXYL Broadcast Group as an anchor on both KXYL Spokane, Wash., and KXYL 920 AM. Woodward previously was an anchor at KREM Spokane.

Station Switches

Jim Zerwekh has been named VP/ GM at WTEV-WAWS Jacksonville. High Plains owns CBS outlet WTEV, which manages Newport TV’s Fox affiliate WAWS in the #47 DMA. WAWS features MyNetworkTV and RTV programming on its digital tier. Zerwekh previously worked for Tribune-owned stations KWGN Denver, the former WBZL Miami-Ft. Lauderdale (now WSFL) and WGN Chicago. Jeff Whitson, who departed the stations in January, was the duopoly’s previous general manager.

Corporate Changes

Randa Minkarah has been named SVP of business development at Fisher Communications. For the past year, she has been Fisher’s VP of business development.

Multiplatform Moves

Lisa Choi Owens was named SVP, digital media, for Scripps Networks.  Choi joined Scripps in 2008, and prior to joining Scripps she held positions with Fuse Networks, Aether Systems and TheKnot.com.

DC Denizens

Sena Fitzmaurice, executive director of communication for Comcast, the nation’s largest cable operator, has been named VP, government communications. Fitzmaurice re-joined Comcast in 2006 from lobbying firm Wexler and Walker. Before that, she was with Comcast’s communications department in Philadelphia, where the company is headquartered.


Producer Joseph Livecchi has signed a multi-year production and development deal with ITV Studios, formerly Granada. Previously, Livecchi was an independent producer contracted to Endemol. Prior that, he was VP of NBC 2000, a think tank within NBC’s in-house marketing shingle, The NBC Agency.


Mike Wendy, director of public affairs for the Computing Technology Industry Association, has joined Progress & Freedom Foundation in Washington as VP of press and external affairs. PFF is a free-market think tank headed by Adam Thierer, a familiar face at Hill hearings on communications-related issues. Wendy replaces Amy Smorodin, who has moved to the Technology Policy Institute as VP, communications and external affairs.

Awards and Honors

Diane Sawyer, ABC News’ new anchor, will host the 69th Annual George Foster Peabody Awards on Monday, May 17, at New York City’s Waldorf-Astoria. Sawyer last hosted the Peabody Awards in 1996, and is the first media personality to emcee two of the ceremonies.

Jim Quello, former FCC commissioner and acting chairman, will be the first person to receive the Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award from the Broadcasters Foundation of America at the NAB convention in Las Vegas this April. Quello, who passed away in January, will receive the award posthumously.

In Memoriam

Phil Johnson, who worked as news director, producer and assistant general manager at WWL New Orleans until 1999, died Monday, March 22, at the age of 80 after a lengthy illness. During his nearly 40 years at the station, he earned Emmy and Peabody Awards and was inducted in the Greater New Orleans Broadcasting Association’s Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 1996 and earned a Lifetime Achievement Award from New Orleans’ Press Club in 1997. In 1999, Loyola University, his alma mater, awarded him its Integritas Vitae Award, the university’s “highest honor for an individual with a high moral character.” Johnson is survived by his wife, five children and eight grandchildren.

Dale Remy, GSM of KTHV Little Rock, Ark., died Sunday, March 21, at the age of 52. He is survived by his wife and two adult daughters, Thea and Malori.

Fess Parker, TV’s Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone, died Thursday, March 18, at his home in California’s Santa Ynez Valley of natural causes. He was 85. The actor, who went on to own California wineries and other business ventures, is survived by his wife, Marcella Rinehart, to whom he had been married 50 years, and his son, daughter and 11 grandchildren.