Fates Roundup, Tuesday, April 8, 2014

ESPN’s Digger Phelps to retire, Barbara Walters last day as View cohost May 16, and more
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Below is a compilation of the latest executive moves in the industry.

Michelle Strong has been upped to senior VP of distribution, national accounts at A+E Networks, the company announced on April 8. Strong will oversee the long-term distribution and revenue growth for A+E Networks as well as coordinate VOD, TV Everywhere, mobile and other digital media negotiations across the company’s portfolio. Most recently, she served as VP of national accounts, managing the company’s relationships with Time Warner Cable, Cablevision and Verizon.

PBS has upped Michael Kelley and Bill Gardner to senior VP of programming and business affairs and VP of programming and development, respectively. Kelley, who joined the network as VP of strategy and operations in 2008, will oversee the development and integration of content and business strategy for the network as well as help manage the general audience programming team. Gardner, who joined PBS as director of general audience programming in 2012, will help with the network’s development and programming strategy, including across the areas of science, history, natural history, cultural and current events. Both Kelley and Gardner will report to Beth Hoppe, chief programming executive and general manager, general audience programming.

Longtime ESPN college basketball analyst Digger Phelps is retiring, he announced during the network’s coverage of the NCAA Championship Game on April 7. Phelps joined ESPN in 1993 as a studio and game analyst. From 1971-1991, he coached the Notre Dame basketball team.

Barbara Walters announced that her last day as cohost of ABC’s The View will be May 16. The Friday episode will be followed by a two-hour primetime special honoring her. Walters will continue on as the show’s coexecutive producer after her retirement. ABC said that they will hold a week-long celebration for the veteran broadcaster during her final week.

Shannon Jacobs has been upped to senior VP of communications at CBS Corp, it was announced on April 7. Jacobs, who most recently served as VP of the department, will oversee the communications team and the execution of communications strategy across the company’s portfolio. She reports to Dana McClintock, executive VP of communications.

Deirdre O’Hearn has been tapped to helm programming and development for the Food Network and Cooking Channel. O’Hearn most recently served as a development exec for WE tv, where she worked on series such as Kendra On Top, Mary Mary, SWV Reunited, L.A. Hair and Marriage Boot Camp.

Lindsay Johnston has been named senior VP of operations at the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers, the organization announced on April 4. Johnston, who most recently served as senior VP of human resources for Comcast, will oversee a wide range of functions at SCTE and report to organization president and CEO Mark Dzuban.

Dave Villano has been appointed chief technology officer at Operative, the company announced on April 4. Villano, a former Cablevision exec, will oversee the cloud-based software and services company’s product innovations.

Charles E. “Chuck” Pagano has announced he will retire from ESPN in February 2015. Pagano joined the company in 1979 as a technical director before the network’s launch. He currently serves as executive VP of technology and will be succeeded in that role by Aaron LaBerge, who works now as senior VP of the department.

David Letterman announced on April 3 that he step down as his to CBS’ Late Show With David Letterman in 2015. Letterman’s departure will cap a more than three decade long late-night career that began on NBC’s Late Night in 1982. The news broke during a mid-afternoon taping of his show after musician Mike Mills tweeted about it. Letterman’s departure marks the latest shift in the landscape with Jimmy Fallon taking over for Jay Leno on The Tonight Show in February and then Seth Meyers subsequently succeeding Fallon on Late Night.

Dr. Oded Bendov, an antenna design expert who was the chief architect behind the antennas at the top of the Empire State Building, has died. He was 76. Bendov died April 2 after a battle with prostate cancer. The engineer, who formed the TV Transmission Antenna Group in 2003, won an Emmy in 1984 for his achievement with the circularly polarized antenna. He also helped design the antenna atop the former World Trade Center in New York City.

Bruce Feldman has been tapped as a senior college football reporter and columnist for Fox Sports, the network announced on April 3. Feldman, who most recently covered college football for CBSSports.com, will contribute Fox Sports’ college football coverage on FoxSports.com and appear on Fox and Fox Sports 1 related programming. Before CBS, he spent 17 years at ESPN.com.

Television Academy President and COO Lucy Hood has died. The former Fox executive succumbed to cancer on April 2. She joined the Academy in 2013 succeeding Alan Perris in the post.

Jan Koeppen has been appointed president of European and African services at Fox International Channels, the company announced on April 2. Koeppen, who most recently served as COO at 21st Century Fox, will oversee FIC’s 94 television and online services across the two regions.

NBC confirmed on April 2 that Josh Elliott, who recently left Good Morning America, has joined NBC Sports Group. The former GMA anchor will cover a wide range of areas for the company, including NFL, Olympics, Triple Crown horse racing and  other events. He bows on the network during the Kentucky Derby on May 3.

Jane Gould has been tapped as senior VP of consumer insights and research at MTV. Gould, who joins from Viacom sister Nickelodeon, will oversee consumer studies for MTV, MTV2, mtvU and MTV.com. She was most recently VP of consumer insights at Nick and is the founder of market research company Looking Glass Insights.

Netflix’s House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black were among the winners of the 73rd Annual Peabody Awards. Other recipients include ABC's Scandal, AMC’s Breaking Bad, Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, FX’s The Bridge, BBC America’s Broadchurch and Orphan Black. For a complete list of winners, go here. The awards will be handed out during a ceremony on May 19.

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