Fates Roundup, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014

Maureen FitzPatrick to EP CTD's 'Hot Bench', Tamron Hall to co-anchor third hour of 'Today', and more
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Below is a compilation of the latest executive moves in the industry.

Mark Strachota will head Weigel Broadcasting's Milwaukee broadcast properties as VP and general manager, the company announced on Feb. 25. The properties include WDJT (CBS), WMLW (independent), WYTU (Telemundo), WBME (Me-TV) and the digi-nets Movies!, This TV, Bounce TV and TouchVision. Strachota, who was previously the general manager of Time Warner Cable SportsChannel, will start at Weigel on March 12.

TV host Jim Lange died on Feb. 25 after suffering a heart attack. He was 81. Lange hosted ABC's The Dating Game for more than a decade and also emceed a number of game shows, including Hollywood Connection, $100,000 Name That Tune and The Newlywed Game.

Scott Shannon will host WCBS-FM 101.1's new weekday program, the New York-based CBS Radio station announced on Feb. 25. Shannon will emcee Scott Shannon in the Morning from 6-10 a.m. Monday through Friday. The industry veteran spent 22 years at New York's WPLJ, choosing the Scott and Todd in the Morning program.

Maureen FitzPatrick (pictured) will executive produce CBS Television Distribution's new court show Hot Bench, it was announced Feb. 24. FitzPatrick, who is executive VP of programming and development at CTD, joins Randy Douthit in her role with Hot Bench. The show, which comes from Judge Judy Sheindlin, will feature a panel of three judges and is set to bow this fall.

Tamron Hall has been named as cohost of the Today show's third hour, NBC announced on Feb. 24. Hall, who is the anchor of MSNBC's NewsNation, joins Al Roker, Natalie Morales and Willie Geist in the 9 a.m. hour. She has previously filled in for Carson Daly on the show in the "Orange Room."

Erin Andrews will cohost the upcoming 18th season of ABC's Dancing With the Stars with Tom Bergeron, it was announced on Feb. 24. Andrews, who appeared as a contestant on season 10 of the show, joined Fox Sports in 2012 after spending  eight years at ABC's corporate sibling ESPN. The season 18 cast of DWTS will be announced on Good Morning America on March 4. She replaces Brooke Burke-Charvet as cohost.

Tim Krubsack is exiting his post as senior VP of alternative programming at Syfy, it was reported on Feb. 24. His departure comes three months after Bill McGoldrick came on board as executive VP of original content.

The Weather Company announced on Feb. 24 that it has reorganized its New York sales team, creating two regional VP roles. Mark Mooney, VP of East Coast cable sales, will have expanded responsibilities under the realignment, taking on the title of VP of East Coast sales. Alicia Muntzner has been named VP of East Coast sales as well. She joins the company from NBCUniversal.

William Berra has been tapped as VP o news at WFLA Tampa, it was announced on Feb. 24. Berra, who has been VP of news at Journal Broadcast Group since 2005, will start at NBC affiliate WFLA on March 17.

Bravo and Oxygen Media upped a trio of executives on Feb. 24. Leslie Greene has been promoted to VP of primary research, Dara Levine has been elevated to VP of programming and digital research, and David Kaplan has been upped to VP of ad sales. Greene, Levine, and Kaplan will all report to Michael Haggerty, senior VP of research for Bravo and Oxygen Media.

Ghostbusters writer and star Harold Ramis died on Feb. 24. The Second City alum, who cowrote a number of movies including National Lampoon's Animal House and Vacation and Stripes, was 69. The Chicago native passed away died to complications from autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis. He is survived by wife Erica Mann Ramis and children Julian, Daniel and Violet.

Borrell Associates has honored Adam Symson with the Award of Merit. Symson serves as senior VP and chief digital officer for The E.W. Scripps co. The accolade recognizes an innovator and leader in local media.

Bart Scott is joining the lineup of CBS' The NFL Today. The network said on Feb. 24 that Scott, a former linebacker who contributed to CBS Sports Network's That Other Pregame Show, will work alongside Tony Gonzalez, James Brown, Boomer Esiason and Bill Cowher. Shannon Sharpe and Dan Marino are leaving the Sunday morning NFL pregame show.

Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) is stepping down at the end of the current session, his office confirmed on Feb. 24. Dingell, who is the longest-serving member of Congress, is the former chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee. He was elected in 1955 but started on the Hill as a page in 1937.

Rich Soucie has been tapped as VP of business development at ThinkAnalytics. Soucie, who joins the company from ARRIS, will be in charge of strategic partnerships and key accounts as well as oversee the opening of ThinkAnalytics' Silicon Valley office. He will report to CEO Eddie Young and work closely with CTO Christy Martin.

Piers Morgan is exiting the 9 p.m. time slot at CNN, the news network confirmed on Feb. 23.The New York Times first reported that Morgan had told the paper's David Carr that he and CNN President Jeff Zucker had made the decision to end Piers Morgan Live. Morgan's show bowed on the network in 2011, filling the timeslot previously occupied by Larry King.  

Vicente Arenas has been tapped as a general assignment correspondent for CBS News in Miami. Arenas was previously a news anchor and weekday reporter for CBS affiliate KHOU-TV Houston. He is set to start on March 17.

Willinger Talent Agency, which Arenas is a client of, announced two additional moves. Alanna Rizzo has joined the Los Angeles Dodgers and it sports network, SportsNet LA, where she will host pre and post game coverage of the Dodgers. Alanna most recently served as an anchor and reporter at MLB Network. Ben Bailey, who previously was WJBK Detroit's morning meteorologist, has joined WDIV Detroit as weekday meteorologist.

Ross Babbit has been upped to senior VP of programming and development at Travel Channel, it was announced on Feb. 21. Babbit previously served as senior VP of programming and production at the network. The cabler also said that general manager Andy Singer is leaving the post. The announcements came just a few weeks after Shannon O'Neill took the helm of the network as president, replacing Lauren Ong.

Veteran anchor and reporter Garrick Utley has died, NBC News said on Feb. 21. He was 74. Utley, who joined NBC as a researcher for The Huntley-Brinkley Report in Europe, succumbed to a long battle with cancer. He also reported on national politics and hosted Meet the Press and Today's Sunday edition.

Hearst Television named Eric Meyrowitz VP of sales on Feb. 21. Meyrowitz previously served as VP and general manager of WPIX New York. At Hearst, he will lead sales with Kathleen Keefe, who is also VP of sales. The group had announced Angela Betasso would join as VP of sales. But Betasso took a similar position at Gannett, which had acquired her previous employer Belo.

Bob Mueller is stepping down from his post as president of JVC Professional Products Company, he announced on Feb. 21. Mueller was tapped to lead the company in 2000.

The National Association of Broadcasters has tapped L&L Broadcasting's Bill McElveen and Quincy's Ralph Oakley to collect candidate contributions. McElveen and Oakley replace NABPAC chair Larry Patrick, who has topped the PAC for the past five years.

CBS upped Nina Tassler to chairman of entertainment on Feb. 20. Tassler, who had served as president of the unit since 2003, signed a deal through 2017 in which she will continue to oversee the net's primetime, late night and daytime programming. She will also helm the division's advertising and promotion, business affairs, consumer products, digital/interactive, diversity, publicity, scheduling and research.

Virginia Lazalde-McPherson has been appointed senior VP of business affairs for truTV. Lazalde-McPherson, who previously served as senior VP, deputy general counsel at MTV, will oversee all business affairs for truTV. Her duties will include brokering series development and production deals and on-air talent appearances. She will report to Sandra Dewey, executive VP, head of business affairs for Turner Entertainment Networks and Cartoon Network Originals.

Peter Cassidy has been tapped as VP of Europe at Applicaster. Cassidy previously was head of interactive at FremantleMedia UK. In his new position, he will oversee Applicaster's European activities.

Judd Apatow will receive the 2014 PaleyFest Icon Award, the Paley Center for Media announced on Feb. 20. Apatow will be feted on March 10 in Beverly Hills at the PaleyFest kickoff event.

Jim Babcock has been elevated to VP of consumer marketing at Adult Swim, parent company Turner Broadcasting announced on Feb. 20. Babcock, who previously served as senior director of consumer marketing for Adult Swim, will helm the division's multi-platform marketing strategy and planning. Adult Swim is part of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.'s Animation, Young Adults and Kids Media unit.

CeeLo Green told Ellen DeGeneres on Feb. 19 that he will not be returning to The Voice so that he can focus on his music career. Green, who has been a coach on four of the show's six cycles, had already said that he wouldn't return for the spring offering, which bowed on Feb, 24 with Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Usher, and Shakira serving as coaches.

Former Tribune Co. exec James C. Dowdle has died of congestive heart failure, his son told The Chicago Tribune on Feb. 19. He was 79. Dowdle joined Tribune in 1981 to steer the company's broadcasting division. He retired from in 1999 as executive VP of Tribune. The industry veteran was inducted into B&C's 1992 Hall of Fame.

Soledad O'Brien will join National Geographic Channel as host and co-executive producer of Live From Space. O'Brien, who has reported for NBC News, MSNBC, CNN, Al Jazeera America and HBO, will broadcast live from Mission Control in Houston as astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Koichi Wakata from the ISS go into orbit. The event will air live on March 14.

Nidia Caceros Kilde has been named VP of communications at NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, the company announced on Feb. 19. Kilde,who previously served as director of corporate communications at The Walt Disney Company, will oversee all consumer and trade media relations for the studios. She will report to group president and CEO Jeff Wachtel and Cory Shields, executive VP of communications.

Former FCC chair Richard E. Wiley will be honored with the 2014 Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award by the Broadcasters Foundation of America. Wiley, who served as chairman of the FCC from 1974 to 1977, heads an 80-attorney communications practice. He will be feted on April 9 at the NAB Show in Las Vegas.

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