Fates Roundup, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014

Hugh Jackman to host 2014 Tonys, Joe Poss joins WTMJ as GM, and more
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Here is a compilation of the latest executive moves in the industry.

Hugh Jackman (pictured left) will emcee the 68th Annual Tony Awards, Jackman announced on Feb. 11. This will be Jackman’s fourth time hosting the Tonys. His 2004 turn as Tonys emcee earned him an Emmy award the following year. The 2014 Tonys will air on CBS on June 8.

Today co-anchor Matt Lauer will host NBC’s primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics on Tuesday. Lauer replaces Bob Costas, who is taking the night off due to an eye infection.

Joe Poss has been named VP and general manager of WTMJ Milwaukee, the Journal Broadcast Group-owned station announced on Feb. 11. Poss, who previously was a general manager in Green Bay, succeeds Steve Wexler, who was named executive VP of radio in January.

Charter has recommended new directors for the Time Warner Cable board in a bid to put pressure on TWC to accept its takeover offer. The proposed members include former TWC chief technology officer Jim Chiddix and Charter’s former CTO Marwan Fawaz. Charter has 13 candidates in mind for the board, which the company wants to see elected at the board’s 2014 annual meeting.

Jenn Topper is leaving her post as media manager at Free Press for the Sunlight Foundation, where she will serve as communications manager. Topper’s appointment follows Liz Bartolomeo’s exit from Sunlight as media director. Bartolomeo now works in the Washington office of communications firm Fenton.

Sean McLaughlin will head news at E.W. Scripps Company, it was announced on Feb. 11. McLaughlin, who has been executive news director and creative services director at KMOV St. Louis, will start as VP of news at Scripps on March 6. Scripps acquired WMYD Detroit and WKBW Buffalo from Granite on Feb. 10.

Blake Callaway has been promoted to executive VP of marketing and digital media at IFC, the network announced on Feb. 11. Callaway, who most recently served as senior VP of marketing, will oversee all aspects of IFC's marketing, reporting to Jennifer Caserta, president and general manager of IFC.

Golf Channel expanded its news team on Feb. 11 with the additions of Kory Kozak as coordinating producer of features and Mark Summer as senior director of Golf Central. Kozak recently worked as a freelance producer for ESPN, National Geographic Channel, NASCAR Productions and Fox Sports. Summer previously spent 23 years in production at ESPN. Kozak and Summer will report to Adam Hertzog, VP of news and studio productions.

Bunim/Murray Productions Chairman Jonathan Murray has donated $6.7 million to his alma mater Missouri University, the university announced on Feb. 11. The funds will create a documentary journalism program. The program will offer bachelor and master of arts degrees and fund research to advance the field. Murray graduated from the MU School of Journalism in 1977. His production company created MTV's The Real World in 1992 and still produces the reality series along with E!'s Keeping Up With the Kardashians and Lifetime's Project Runway, Project Runway All Stars and Under the Gunn.

Brian Cull has been tapped a group VP of integrated marketing at the NHL, it was announced on Feb. 10. Cull, who joins the NHL from Wasserman Media Group, will oversee the league's U.S. partnership team and report to Brian Jennings, NHL chief marketing officer. He will start at the NHL on Feb. 18.

Anthony Anderson will host the 45th NAACP Image Awards, the NAACP and TV One announced on Feb. 10. The Real Husbands of Hollywood star will be joined by presenters Lupita Nyong'o, Tyler Perry, Michael Ealy, Tony Goldwyn, Arsenio Hall, Gabrielle Union, Regina Hall, Octavia Spencer, Archie Panjabi, rickey Smiley, Nicole Beharie and Lou Gossett. Jr. The show will be aired live on Feb. 22 on TV One at 9 p.m. ET/PT with Dennis Haysbert serving as in-show announcer.

Fred Armisen will lead the band on Late Night when Seth Meyers assumes hosting duties on Feb. 24, Meyers announced via Twitter on Feb. 10. Meyers is taking over the Late Night helm from Jimmy Fallon as Fallon heads to The Tonight Show. Meyers and Armisen worked together on Saturday Night Live. Armisen multi-instrumentalist who regularly performed musical numbers on SNL. His IFC show Portlandia was renewed for two more seasons with the fourth season bowing on Feb. 27.

Peter Naylor has been named senior VP of sales at Hulu, the video streaming service announced on Feb. 10. Naylor most recently headed ad sales at NBC News Digital and has had stints at Terra Lycos, Wired Digital Interactive, Vanity Fair and Spin magazine.

Shed Media US has tapped John Hesling as senior VP of programming, it was announced on Feb. 10. Hesling, who most recently was the executive producer of History Channel’s Top Gear, will head programming at Shed Media US and will report to the company’s general manager Pam Healey.

Jeffrey Glaser has been upped to executive VP of current programming at 20th Century Fox Television, it was announced on Feb. 10. Glaser, who previously served as senior VP of the department, will report to Jonathan Davis, who was recently elevated to president of creative affairs.

Matthew Robinson has been appointed senior VP of international television at 20th Century Fox Television Distribution, it was announced on Feb. 10. Robinson, who will be based in Los Angeles, will work closely with and report to Marion Edwards, president of international television. He will be involved in all aspects of the studio’s basic pay television and network business as well as content and ad supported on demand licensing. The exec will also work on the expansion of the company’s global format licensing business. Robinson previously held various executive positions at Warner Bros. International Television.

TVFreedom added four members on Feb. 10. The additions include The Hispanic Institute, Entravision, ZGS Communications, and Media Alliance. TVFreedom, which launched last week,  is a broadcaster-backed retrans defender.

Former Gray Television CEO J. Mack Robinson has died. He was 90. In 1993, he acquired newspaper and broadcast company Gray Communications with Bob Prather. Robinson served as president and CEO of Gray from 1996 until 2008. He was succeeded by Hilton Howell Jr. at the company.

Peter Naylor has been tapped to head sales at Hulu, the video streaming service announced on Feb. 10. Naylor, who has worked in ad sales for more than 25 years, will serve as Hulu’s senior VP of sales. He most recently was executive VP of ad sales at NBC News Digital.

Veria Living has announced on Feb. 10 that Douglas Jost will serve as the media brand’s director of content distribution and marketing. In his new role, Jost will report to Tim Boell, senior VP of content distribution and marketing. Prior to Veria, he cofounded Bright Educational Media, Inc. He also cofounded and served as executive VP of affiliate sales and marketing for Mav’rick Entertainment Network, Inc.

Michael Smerconish will head to CNN as a host of his own Saturday morning program in New York, the news network announced on Feb. 10. Smerconish, who previously worked at MSNBC as a contributor and guest hosted Hardball, will emcee the talk and news interview show live. He also writes a column for the Philadelphia Inquirer and hosts The Michael Smerconish Program on SiriusXM Radio.

TV Guide Network named two executives on Feb. 10. Leslie J. Isaacs, who joins TVGN from NBCUniversal, has been appointed VP of West Coast ad sales. Scripps Networks’ Takashi Nakano has been chosen as VP of content distribution for the network. Isaacs served most recently as director of ad sales at NBCU. At TVGN, she will oversee all West Coast sales in addition to the net’s industry partnerships, reporting to Michael DuPont, executive VP of national ad sales. Nakano previously worked as the director of national accounts at Scripps. In his new role, he will manage the net’s MVPD relationships and develop new business, reporting to Friday Abernathy, executive VP of content distribution at TVGN.

Shelly Tatro has been appointed senior VP of development and programming at A&E Network, it was announced on Feb. 10. Tatro, who most recently served as senior VP of East Coast production and development at VH1, will oversee the network’s development and production of nonfiction, alternative and reality series, reporting to David McKillop, executive VP and general manager. While at VH1, she worked on a variety of shows,  including Mob Wives, Love and Hip Hop, and Hogan Knows Best.

Ray Chew will be Dancing With the Stars’ new music director, ABC announced on Feb. 7. Chew will debut on the series on the season 18 premiere March 17. The composer recently served as the music director for the 65th Annual Emmy Awards and has worked on series and specials such as Fox’s American Idol and It’s showtime at the Apollo.

Kirsten Wolff has been upped to news director at WESH-WKCF Orlando, it was announced on Feb. 7. Wolff, who previously served as the station duo’s assistant news director, replaces Bob Longo, who moved to Hearst Television’s WTEV-WAWS Jacksonville.

Kelly Cutrone will host a talk show on The CW, the network announced on Feb. 7. Cutrone is a judge on the net’s America’s Next Top Model and an author. The talker, titled The Kelly Cutrone Project, is set to launch this summer.

New York Mets broadcaster Ralph Kiner has died. He was 91. The former major leaguer broadcasted for the Mets since the team was formed in 1962. He hosted Kiner’s Korner after Mets home games, where he interviewed players and coaches. In 2011 the veteran broadcaster was profiled by B&C, celebrating his 50th year in the industry.

Democratic strategist James Carville has signed on to contribute to Fox News Channel, the news cabler announced on Feb. 6. Carville will be the most high-profile left leaning voice on the news net, appearing across FNC’s programming. He most recently served as a political commentator for CNN before leaving last year after Jeff Zucker took the helm.

Barry Jossen has been tapped as executive VP of newly formed A+E Studios, parent company A+E Networks announced on Feb. 6. Jossen, who recently headed ABC Studios, will manage scripted programming for the production unit, reporting to Bob DeBitetto, president of brand strategy, business development and A+E Studios.

David Luner has been upped to president of brand partnerships and franchise management at FremantleMedia North America, the company announced on Feb. 6. Luner, who previously served as interim executive VP of brand partnerships and franchise management, will oversee all of the company's subsidiary businesses. As interim executive VP, Luner helped supervise the reorganization of FMNA, which integrated the ancillary rights group FremantleMedia Enterprises.

Katie Lanegran has been elevated to VP of public relations for SundanceTV, the network announced on Feb. 6. Lanegan, who previously was senior director, will continue to oversee  PR campaigns for the network's programming as well as help develop the network's PR strategy. She reports to Suzy Berkowitz-Weksel, senior VP of public relations.

Morgan Selzer has been appointed VP of development at CMT, the network announced on Feb. 5. Selzer, who joins CMT from Style Network, will oversee all programming development at the network.

Natalie Dumoulin has been named a creative producer at Shaftesbury, the content creator and distributor announced on Feb. 5. In her new role, Dumoulin will head the development and production of the company's kids and families projects. She most recently served as director of international youth development for Pixcom.

Ross Video tapped Ron Benincasa on Feb. 5 as key accounts manager for the Central and Southern U.S. Benincasa, who joins Ross from Chyron Hego, will oversee revenue growth and the overall customer experience across key accounts.

Susan Wojcicki has been appointed CEO of YouTube, parent company Google announced on Feb. 5. Wojcicki, who was the 16th employee hired at Google, most recently headed ad products for the company.

Shannon O’Neill has been promoted to president of the Travel Channel, it was announced on Feb. 5. O’Neill, who has spent the last three years as the network’s senior VP and CFO, will start immediately and report to Burton Jablin, president of Travel’s parent company Scripps Networks. He replaces Laureen Ong, who resigned in October 2013 after Jablin was promoted. Scripps acquired Travel Channel from Cox Communications in 2009.

ESPN analyst Curt Schilling has been diagnosed with cancer, he said on Feb. 5. The former baseball pitcher was set to appear as a booth analyst for Sunday Night Baseball this season. The sports network did not say what it plans to do for SNB.

Debbie Reichig has joined PrecisionDemand as chief revenue officer, the TV ad targeting company announced on Feb. 5. In her new role, Reichig will oversee sales, client services and marketing. She is the founder of In-Focus Media Consulting, where she also served as principal. The exec also had marketing stints at Clear Channel Outdoor and NBCUniversal.

Rob Kirby has been named senior attorney for Hasbro Studios International Distribution, the entertainment division of Hasbro, Inc. announced on Feb. 5. Kirby most recently headed legal and business affairs for independent distributor DRG. He succeeds retiring Kevin Healy.

Bedrocket has tapped Frank Kavilanz as general manager of partnerships and revenue. Kavilanz, who joins from partner company NowThis News, will oversee the development of Bedrocket’s growth and best practices across the company’s video platforms. At NowThis News, he served as senior VP for strategy and business development. He has also worked at NBCUniversal News Group and ABC News Digital.

Brianna Keilar has been appointed senior political correspondent for CNN and primary fill-in anchor for The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer, the news network announced on Feb. 5. Keilar, who has been with CNN since since 2006 and most recently served as senior White House correspondent, will be the lead reporter covering the Democratic presidential candidates for 2016.

Steve Cochran has been elevated to CEO of WideOpenWest (WOW!). Cochran, who previously served as president at the triple-play provider, will succeed current chairman and CEO Colleen Abdoulah, who is transitioning solely to chairman. WOW! also upped chief marketing officer Cathy Kuo to chief operating officer. The company is privately owned by Avista Capital Partners.

Jeffrey L. Thompson will helm operations for Regional News Network, the company announced on Feb. 5. Thompson, who joins RNN from Shout! Factory, will serve as general manager and senior VP of business development for the company’s West Coast Office. Based in Los Angeles, he will oversee business development efforts, joint ventures and alliances for the news producer and content distribution company.

Mark Kornblau has been named senior VP of communications at NBCUniversal News Group, NBCU announced on Feb. 5. Kornblau will oversee the group’s communications strategy and report to NBCUniversal News Group chairman Pat Fili-Krushel. He succeeds Kathy Kelly-Brown, who will helm the global talent booking division of NBCU. Kornblau previously served as managing director of corporate communications at JPMorgan Chase. NBCUniversal News Group includes NBC News, MSNBC and CNBS.

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