Fates Roundup, Oct. 7, 2014

Greenblatt to oversee NBCU stage division, ‘7th Heaven’ actor Collins resigns from SAG-AFTRA and more
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Below is a compilation of the latest moves in the industry.

Robert Greenblatt, president of NBC Entertainment, has been given oversight of Universal Stage Productions, NBCUniversal’s stage division, the company announced Oct. 7. Jimmy Horowitz, the president of Universal Pictures, will continue to lead the division, whose adaptations stretch throughout the company to the stage.

Stephen Collins, who played Rev. Eric Camden on 7th Heaven, resigned from the SAG-AFTRA board of directors Oct. 7 after TMZ published an audio recording of the actor admitting to multiple instances of child molestation. In light of the allegations, he has been cut from upcoming feature film Ted 2 and reruns of 7th Heaven have been pulled from UP television network.

The Associated Press has renewed its deal with News Distribution Network for video licensing and distribution. The deal, which runs through 2017, comes after the AP saw strong growth in traffic and sales. NDN has been running the AP’s online video news network and selling those ads since 2010.

A+E Networks has elevated Mel Berning to president and chief revenue officer, a new title. Peter Olsen was also upped to executive president, ad sales, and will report to Berning, whose responsibilities now include supervising distribution and a new marketing innovations team in addition to ad sales and research.

WLBT Jackson (Miss.) has added Ted Fortenberry as VP and general manager, effected January 2015. Previously the VP and general manager at WMBF Myrtle Beach, Fortenberry will take the place of the retiring Dan Modisett at the sister Raycom property.

The Radio Television Digital News Association presented 98 Edward R. Murrow Awards during its Oct. 6 awards dinner in New York City. ABC affiliate WCVB-TV was recognized with the Overall Excellence award for large market station and NBC affiliate WBIR-TV for small market. ABC News won Overall Excellence in network television and radio.

Viacom’s Dermot McCormack has departed to join AOL Video & AOL Studios as president. McCormack, who had been president of video and studios at Viacom, will work to increase AOL’s original video programming, premium content and video channels. He succeeds AOL On founder Ran Harnevo.

Rovi Corporation has hired Sean Matthews as executive VP, strategy and corporate development, the company announced Oct. 6. Matthews will help lead market analyses and come up with long-term strategy. He will be based in Rovi’s Santa Clara, Calif. headquarters and report to president and CEO Tom Carson.

The Brookings Institute’s Metropolitan Policy Program has named Blair Levin as a nonresident senior fellow. In the role, Levin, the FCC’s National Broadband Plan czar, will "inform city efforts to apply innovative practices to expand broadband access."

Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts was presented with the 31st annual Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism on Oct. 6 by Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Instead of a speech, Roberts answered questions from a pair of student reporters.

The NATPE will honor Linda Bell Blue, Gustavo Cisneros, Adriana Cisneros, Jay Leno, Jonathan Murray and Ted Sarandos with its 12th annual Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award, which recognizes professionals who display exemplary leadership, vision, passion and independence in producing TV programming.

Nicole A. Bernard has been elevated to executive VP, audience strategy, for The Fox Group. As head of audience strategy, Bernard has worked with leaders across 21st Century Fox’s entertainment platforms to cement the importance of broadening audiences in policies, content and operations.

Digital consulting firm Omnigon has appointed Bora Nikolic the new role of chief creative officer. Formerly the creative and design director, Nikolic will emphasize expanding the design team across North America and overseas. A founding partner, Nikolic won Webby Awards, OMMA Awards, Social Media Influencer Awards and Interactive Media Awards.

Vince De Quattro has been appointed executive in charge of production at Athena Studios, the company in Emeryville, Calif., that specializes in animation for film and multimedia clients. Athena Studios founder Jon V. Peters made the announcement on Oct. 6. In the role, De Quattro will form a production development package.

Pencil, the nonprofit group dedicated to helping New York City public schools, elected A+E Networks chairman Abbe Raven to its board of directors. Raven, a former teacher, works with students at Humanities & Arts Magnet High School. A+E is also part of joint training program Pencil Fellows.

ABC news has appointed Stacia Phillips Deshishku as deputy Washington Bureau chief, announced ABC News president James Goldston on Oct. 6. Deshishku formerly served as senior White House supervising producer and director of news planning for CNN and, before that, director of coverage for CNN’s national assignment desk.

Comcast’s independent online video subsidiary thePlatform has selected Michael Kurtzman as VP of sales for the Americas. In that role, he will oversee the company’s sales in North, South and Central America. The company also announced on Oct. 6 the hiring of Jouari Santiago as director of sales for Latin America.

Kim Keenan will succeed David Honig as president and CEO of the Minority Media & Telecommunications Council. Keenan has been general counsel and secretary of the NAACP. Honig, the cofounder of MMTC, headed the council for the last 28 years.

Venerable comedian Steve Martin will be presented the American Film Institute’s annual life achievement award, the organization announced Oct. 3. Martin will receive the honor on June 4, 2015 in Los Angeles at a gala tribute that will be broadcast later that month on TNT.

A freelancer working for NBC News in Liberia tested positive for Ebola. The freelancer, who was identified as Ashoka Mukpo, was hired by the network Sept. 30 as a cameraman for chief medical editor Nancy Snyderman, who is reporting on the Ebola outbreak. She and the rest of her crew are being monitored closely. Mukpo is being treated in the U.S.

KTVU Oakland’s Lee Rosenthal is moving to WFXT Boston, where he will serve as news director. Rosenthal had been KTVU’s news director since 2013 after working at WXIN Indianapolis. Cox Media Group is swapping with Fox Television Stations to acquire WFXT as well as WHBQ Memphis.

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. has tapped Pascal Desroches as executive VP and chief financial officer, CEO and chairman John K. Martin announced Oct. 2. Desroches’ move to the top financial post, a role that includes oversight of the company’s financial operations, is effective Jan. 1, 2015.

Walt Disney Co. chairman and CEO Bob Iger’s contract has been extended through June 30, 2018. It is not clear who would take over for Iger if he does retire, two years later than previously planned. Under Iger, Walt Disney Co. acquired brands like Marvel and Star Wars, helping to boost the company’s stock to record levels.

ESPN extended the contract of college basketball analyst Jay Bilas through the 2022-23 season. The network also added its primetime Saturday games to his position on College GameDay. He will also continue contributing to ESPN’s NBA Draft night coverage.

Arcelia Pimentel has been bumped up to director of sales for the BCCA subsidiary of the Media Financial Management Association. The announcement came on Oct. 2. Caitlin Hahne has been hired to assume Pimentel’s membership services responsibilities.

The White House has chosen Joe Clancy as interim director of the Secret Service, following director Julia Pierson’s resignation. Clancy is executive director of Comcast Cable Security and a former member of the Secret Service and Department of Homeland Security.

Dick Vitale isn’t going anywhere. The college basketball analyst extended his contract with ESPN through 2016-17 season. Vitale, who has been with ESPN since the 1979-80 season, will remain as the network’s top college hoops analyst.

Castalia Communications Corporation has hired Robert Watson as senior VP, U.S. distribution, announced president and founder Luis Torres-Bohl on Oct. 1. Watson is a cable industry veteran with more than 30 years of experience. Castalia’s clients include BBC World News, China Central Television and Radio y Television Espanola.

James Dolan, CEO of Cablevision Systems and frontman of JD & The Straight Shot, did indeed donate $100,000 to the ALS Foundation after his fans accepted the challenge to break the world record for simultaneous kazoo playing. He presented a ceremonial check at Madison Square Garden.

Tedd Cittadine has been upped to Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment’s senior VP, digital distribution, Worldwide Distribution president Keith Feldman announced Oct. 1. Cittadine, formerly the VP of digital distribution, will lead the company’s North American digital platform strategy.

The Oregon Association of Broadcasters has deemed KLSR-KEVU Eugene general manager Mark Metzger as Broadcaster of the Year. The association honors individuals “who have made unselfish and significant contributions to Oregon’s broadcast industry.” Metzger has run the stations for nearly 24 years.

C. Brett Marottoli has been promoted to VP, program acquisitions, at Starz, head of acquisitions Kevin Kasha announced Sept. 30. Marottoli, based in the company’s headquarters in Colorado, will take the reigns of all movie and TV programming acquisitions for Starz Networks premium pay television offerings.

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