Fates & Fortunes Weekly Round-Up


Here’s this week’s round-up of who’s coming and who’s going in the media industry.

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Big Kahunas

Ryan Seacrest seals deal to stay with Idol through 2012 at $15 million annually. Here’s a look at Seacrest’s growing entertainment empire.

Margaret Loesch is the latest former Crown Media President and CEO to head to Discovery. Loesch will oversee the new Discovery/Hasbro kids’ cable channel.

John Flock promoted to CEO of Peach Arch Entertainment Group, producer of such shows as The Tudors.

Neil Patrick Harris will host the Primetime Emmys.

Former NBC Entertainment President Don Ohlmeyer named ESPN ombudsman.

Corporate Changes

Hilary Smith promoted to senior vice president, communications, NBC Universal Women and Lifestyle Entertainment Networks from her previous role as vice president, NBC Universal Corporate Communications.

Programming Promotions

Mark Mandala, 72, retired former president of the ABC TV Network, died of an apparent heart attack while playing golf July 11 in Dorset, Vt., according to his family. Mandala’s son, Steve, is a top cable sales executive with NBC Universal. Mark Mandala was with ABC for 32 years, retiring in 1994 as head of the network.

Barry Ilovitch promoted to president of production for Entertainment Studios Networks six new 24-hour HD TV networks.

Andrea Shay named VP of TV comedy development at the Mark Gordon Company, which produces such shows as Grey’s Anatomy and Army Wives. Shay formerly was VP of comedy development at Regency TV.

Blythe Cappello named VP, talent development and casting at E!. Cappello moves to E! from the same position at MTV.

Marcello Bellisario named coordinator of talent and casting at The CW

Station Swaps

Morgan Murphy Media is requiring all employees to either take a week of unpaid leave or receive an equivalent pay cut. Employees have until the end of the year to put in their furlough time. WISC also laid off six, reports the Wisconsin State Journal, including anchor Teri Barr.

Jim Berman dismissed as president and general manager of Belo’s WVEC Norfolk.

Dick Tracy (yes, his real name) was named director of content development at Weigel’s WCIU and other Weigel properties.

Political Prospects

Steven VanRoekel named the FCC’s managing director. VanRoekel formerly was an executive in the Microsoft’s Windows Server and Tools division and was an assistant and strategist to company founder Bill Gates.

Ruth Milkman named chief of the FCC’s Wireless Bureau. James Schlichting named the bureau’s senior deputy chief.

Tech Trades

Richard F. O’Brion, formerly executive president of JVC Corp. of America, died Wednesday, July 8. O’Brion, 89, played a key role in introducing the VHS format. O’Brion, a military veteran, is survived b his daughters, Candace Ahto and her husband Charles of Florham Park, Robyn O’Brion of Garfield, and Kimberly O’Brion and her husband Charles Esty of Albuquerque, N.M. He was predeceased by his wife Barbara (nee Frank) O’Brion in 2004.