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Fates Roundup, Dec. 16, 2014 - Broadcasting & Cable

Fates Roundup, Dec. 16, 2014

Terry Crews to host Fox comedy, Stephen Hill to lead BET’s programming and more
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Below is a compilation of the latest moves in the industry.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine star Terry Crews will host World’s Funniest Fails, the new unscripted Fox comedy debuting on Jan. 16 at 8 p.m. The one-hour series drew inspiration from hit YouTube channel FailArmy, which features a diverse collection of “epic fail” viral videos.

BET has chosen Stephen Hill to take over its entire programming division, the network said on Dec. 16. Hill, who currently supervises the channel’s music programming and special, will also lead BET’s original programming. Hill, the head of programming, will oversee all aspects of programming and production across BET.

Brand advertising agency Hawthorne Direct announced Dec. 16 that its CEO, Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, had been named the CEO World Awards’ “2015 Female CEO of the Year in Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations.” Winners of the 2015 CEO World awards will be honored in San Francisco on June 29, 2015.

As Fox Sports begins preparations for its first World Cup broadcast next summer, the network announced that it will be welcoming Alexi Lalas next month as a studio and game analyst. The popular U.S. soccer commentator, who is best known for his time on the U.S. national team, will also contribute to other soccer coverage.

Riedel Communications has tapped Robert Pennington as U.S. sales manager, broadcast, for the East Coast. Pennington will help customers choose and implement the broad product portfolio of networked communications and signal transport solutions for the real-time video, audio, data and communications networks provider.

WPHL Philadelphia VP and general manager Vince Giannini will add Washington to his control as he becomes a senior VP at Tribune. Tribune’s CW affiliate in Washington is WDCW; WPHL is a MyNetworkTV station. Before joining WPHL, Giannini served as station manager for Tribune’s WPIX New York.

Veteran Republican Scott Weaver, a senior public policy advisor at Wiley Rein, has been picked to take over day-to-day operations of the law firm’s Public Policy Group as its cochair. The other cochair is former Democratic congressman Jim Slattery. Weaver has been an advisor to the group since 2009.

Larissa Zagustin will be the next senior VP and general counsel for Viacom International Media Networks’ brands and business in Latin America (including Brazil), Canada and the US Hispanic market. The company made the announcement on Dec. 16. Zagustin, based in Miami, will lead the business and legal affairs teams in the region.

Believe Entertainment Group announced on Dec. 15 the appointment of two new senior members to the company’s executive management team. Evan Fleischer will serve as executive VP of brand partnerships and business development, while Shane McGrath will serve as executive VP of ad sales.

NBCUniversal announced Dec. 15 that it had upped Meara Abramson Valenzuela to senior VP, planning and strategy, Hispanic Enterprises and Content. Based in New York, Valenzuela will help develop strategy and lead analysis, planning and execution of important projects across the division’s businesses.

Management company colleen. has added cinematographer Dannel Escallon to the agency. Escallon, the DP for the 2013 Daytime Emmy-winning Disney PSA “Make Your Mark — Ben Horowitz,” has served as DP on a number of music videos, commercials and documentaries over the last couple of years.

Jon Gruden is staying in the booth for the foreseeable future, as the former NFL coach agreed to a contract extension with ESPN that runs through 2021, which is also when ESPN’s TV contact with the NFL ends. Gruden’s QB Camp segments on SportsCenter will also continue.

WFXR-WWCW Roanoke-Lynchburg has named Joseph McNamara as VP and general manager. McNamara, a 24-year veteran of the industry and KHON Honolulu’s president and general manager from 2006 to 2013, will begin at the Nexstar stations immediately, reporting to co-chief operating officer Tim Busch.

Brian Williams will stay as NBC News anchor through the rest of the decade. He extended his contract with the network to continue as anchor and manager of NBC Nightly News. Although the contract’s length was not announced, it is said to be at least a five-year deal, taking Williams until at least 2020.

Fox News reported that former reporter Dominic Di-Natale died on Dec. 10. He was 43. According to the news channel, Di-Natale, who resigned Nov. 30, took his own life in Jefferson County, Colo., where he owned property. Di-Natale covered the Ferguson, Mo. riots, freelancing out of Fox’s L.A. bureau.

Nick Cannon is set to host the inaugural People Magazine Awards on NBC this Thursday, Dec. 18. The actor and TV personality, who will join Fox’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine in a Dec. 14 episode, has hosted America’s Got Talent for the past six seasons. The awards show, celebrating the year in pop culture, will be telecast live from the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

Wohler Technologies announced Dec. 12 that Rodney Hampton will be its new senior sales executive, time technology, for the company’s RadiantGrid line of file-based media transformation solutions. Hampton, who has more than 25 years of high-tech experience, will be tasked with growing sales of the time technology product.

Windstream Holdings announced Dec. 12 that president and CEO Jeff Gardner had resigned and Tony Thomas would be his successor. Thomas, 43, who will be director of Windstream, had served as the company’s CFO for the last eight years, most recently as president of real estate investment trust (REIT) operations.

Tom McAlister will return to Beck Media & Marketing as managing director of its new location in Austin, Texas. McAlister, formerly as executive for Hulu who worked on its marketing team for a number of series, will serve marketing and communication needs for new and existing clients when the office opens Jan. 5.

CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves will remain in his position until 2019, as he extended his contract for an additional two years through June 30, 2019. After that, Moonves will be an executive advisor to CBS for another five years and have the option to start a production company under CBS. His salary will remain the same.

KMOV St. Louis VP and general manager Mark Pimentel will fill the same role at Meredith sister station WGCL Atlanta. Pimentel, who had previously served as executive news producer at WSB Atlanta and news director at WXIA Atlanta, took the helm at KMOV in 2012 after leading WHAS Louisville when it was part of Belo.

Beginning Jan. 5, Nexstar’s WOI Des Moines will relaunch ABC5News as Local 5 News under the “We Are Iowa” brand. Featuring a new anchor team, Local 5 News will also be broadcast from a remodeled facility in full HD. WOI VP and general manager Jon Skorburg had previously pegged Nexstar’s WOI investment at $1-$1.5 million.

DigitasLBI announced Dec. 11 that it had tapped Scott Donaton in the new role of North America chief content officer. The New York-based Donaton will report to North America CEO Tony Weisman in leading the the global marketing and technology company’s content practice.

Satellite services provider Intelsat announced Dec. 11 the promotion of president and chief commercial officer Stephen Spengler to deputy CEO, effective immediately. Chairman and CEO David McGlade will transition to executive chairman on April 1, when Spengler will lost the “deputy” title to assume the role of CEO.

Engineering exec Jodi Robinson has departed Starz for Charter Communications, where she will serve as senior VP, user experience design and development. Robinson, who helped develop TV Everywhere apps and digital productions at Starz, will supervise UT design and development for all of Charter’s products.

KTTV FOX 11 has named Ruben Villaescusa assistant news director. Bill Mondora, the station’s VP and news director, made the announcement on Dec. 10. Villaescusa, a 21-year veteran of KTTV, had most recently served as assignment manager and, before that, as a writer and producer for L.A.’s KTLA News.

Mary Ann Mobley Collins, the former Miss America and actress, died Dec. 9 due to complications from breast cancer. She was 77. A native of Biloxi, Miss., Mobley Collins was crowned Miss America in 1959, before entering the entertainment industry. The Golden Globe winner starred opposite Elvis Presley in Harum Scarum.

Cogeco Cable Inc. announced Dec. 10 that Rich Shea had been appointed president and CEO of Atlantic Broadband and Dave Isenberg as president and chief revenue officer, effective Jan. 1. Atlantic Broadband’s current president and CEO Edward Holleran is stepping down and will work part-time as VP of industry relations.

WE tv announced Dec. 10 that it has elevated Suzanne Gladstone Murch to VP of original programming in addition to naming David Stefanou and Angela Molloy VPs of development. Molloy will work in the Los Angeles Branch. Since 2010, Gladstone Murch has served as an executive producer at WE tv.

Partnering with NBCUniversal-owned stations, the NBCU Foundation’s 21st Century Solutions grant challenge has given $1.2 million of support to 30 local nonprofits in 10 NBC O&O markets. The program, in its third year, supports initiatives in various fields, including civic engagement, education and technology.

Sucherman Consulting Group, the media and entertainment industry executive search firm, announced Dec. 9 that Richard Tackenberg had joined the firm as senior consultant. Tackenberg, who will work out of the Los Angeles office, was previously VP, development and production, for L.A. startup Rush It Network.

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