Fates Roundup, Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Roberts extends Comcast contract, Matheny joins NAB and more
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Below is a compilation of the latest executive moves in the industry.

Comcast has extended chairman and CEO Brian Roberts’ contract through June 30, 2015. Roberts, who led the company’s acquisition of NBCUniversal and the pending merger with Time Warner Cable, is the son of Comcast founder Ralph Roberts. He has been CEO since 2012.

Sam Matheny has been tapped as executive VP and chief technology officer of the National Association of Broadcasters, the organization announced on July 1. Matheny, who has served as VP of policy and innovation at Capitol Broadcasting. His appointment with the NAB is effective July 15.

Sam Moser has been upped to VP of national sales and marketing for Fox News Channel, the company announced on July 1. Moser, who most recently served as VP of national advertising sales, will now manage ad sales in the Chicago, Detroit, Dallas and Los Angeles regions. He joined FNC in 2005 from the Game Show Network.

Gail Berman, who left the media company she cofounded — BermanBraun (now Whalerock Industries) — in January, has teamed with Fox Networks Group on new production company The Jackal Group. Berman will serve as the co-venture’s chief executive. The newly formed shingle will develop and produce  content for 21st Century Fox’s portfolio. The partnership marks a return to Fox for Berman as she previously served as president of Fox Networks Group.

Dean Stoneback has joined the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers as senior director of engineering, the organization announced on June 30. Stoneback, who most recently served as senior technical marketing manager with Arris Group, will lead the development of standards, recommend practices and training information for the SCTE.

Donald C. Storm II has been named CFO of E! and Esquire Network, parent company NBCUniversal announced on June 30. Storm, who previously worked for NBCU Corporate as VP of financial planning and analysis, will oversee the two networks’ financial operations. He reports to Suzanne Kolb, president of E!, and Adam Stotsky, president of Esquire Network.

Rachel Millard has been appointed communications director of Sen. John Thune’s Washington office. Millard, who had previously served as the Republican Senator’s press secretary, takes over for Andi Fouberg, who is joining the South Dakota State University Alumni Association as president. Thune is the ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee.

The National Telecommunications & Information Administration has named new Commerce Spectrum Management Advisory Committee members. Among the new appointments are: Audrey L. Allison, director of frequency management services, Boeing; Michael S. Chartier, director of spectrum technology at Intel's public policy group; Harold Feld, senior VP of public policy, Public Knowledge; Dr. Paul Kolodzy, an independent telecommunications consultant; Dr. Robert Kubik, director of communications policy and regulatory affairs, Samsung Electronics America; Dr. Giulia McHenry, an associate with The Brattle Group; Charla Rath, VP of wireless policy development, Verizon; Dr. Jeffrey H. Reed, director of wireless at Virginia Tech; Kurt Schaubach, VP and CTO, National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative; Steve Sharkey, senior director, chief engineering and technology policy in T-Mobile’s government affairs office; and Mariam Sorond, VP of technology development, DISH. CSMAC members are appointed for two-year terms.

David Hoover has been named VP of legislative affairs for the NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association, it was announced on June 30. Hoover, who has had stints with CTIA-The Wireless Association and Legg Mason Precursor Group, starts at NTCA on July 7.

MarVista Entertainment has launched MarVista Digital Entertainment, which will be headed by Vanessa Shapiro, executive VP of distribution. The new digital entertainment unit will license original and acquired content. In conjunction with the launch, MVE made a number of executive appointments to the digital arm, including Scott Kirkpatrick as director of distribution and Rebecca Shipley as manager of digital distribution. MVDE’s upcoming program slate features Zapped, Fatal Acquittal, If I Had Wings and Betrayed.

Designing Women star Meshach Taylor died June 28 from colorectal cancer. He was 67. Taylor, who passed away at his Altadena, Calif. home, played ex-con deliveryman Anthony Bouvier in the popular 80s sitcom for its entire seven-season run.

Former Broadcasting & Cable production manager Harry H. Stevens died June 27. He was 89. Washington-born Stevens joined B&C as a teenager and stayed on with the magazine through his retirement. While at B&C he oversaw advertising an editorial production.  

Full Channel chairwoman Hilda Viveiros Donofrio died June 28. She was 87. Donofrio cofounded the Rhode Island broadband provider with her late husband John Donofrio. The family-owned and operated company was incorporated in 1965 and is currently run by Donofrio’s daughter Linda Jane Maaia. Donofrio is also survived by daughters Rosemary Pacheco and Valerie Daniels as well as four grandsons.

Jenny McCarthy and Sherri Shepherd are leaving ABC’s The View. The announcement comes on the heels of show creator Barbara Walters’ retirement, which leaves Whoopi Goldberg as the only remaining panelist. The network also announced that the talker is moving to the studio recently vacated by Katie in the ABC Broadcast Center. Replacements for McCarthy, Shepherd and Walters have not been announced yet.

Newly minted Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? host Terry Crews has been tapped to emcee the 30th Television Critics Association Awards, it was announced on June 26. Crews, who stars in Fox’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine, follows in the footsteps of Bryant Cranston, Conan O’Brien, Drew Carey, Craig Ferguson, Wanda Sykes among others. The event is set to take place on July 19 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

Former HBO exec Dina Juliano has been named senior VP, consumer product strategy for TV Everywhere at NBCUniversal, the company announced on June 26. Juliano, who helped launch HBO Go at the premium cabler, will work to enhance NBCU’s current TV Everywhere platforms while working on new strategies for the company, She reports to Alison Moore, executive VP and general manager of NBCU’s TV Everywhere.

The Media Institute has appointed Josh Wheeler to its First Amendment advisory council, it was announced on June 26. Wheeler formerly served as the director of the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression.

Chris Topf has been appointed VP and general manager of WPMT Harrisburg, it was announced on June 26. In his new role, Topf, who previously served as general manager of WNWO Toledo, will report to Kathy Clement, COO of WPMT parent Tribune Broadcasting.

Tracey Edmonds and Charissa Thompson will cohost Extra alongside Mario Lopez, the newsmagazine announced on June 26. Edmonds and Thompson replaced the recently departed Maria Menounos, who has joined E!.

Jared Sonne has been tapped as senior VP of operations, North Carolina at Suddenlink, the company announced on June 26. Sonne, who replaces Suddenlink’s retiring Phil Ahlschlager, previously served as VP of operations for the company’s East Texas and Oklahoma region.

Rachel Payne, Natasha Mohanty and Dr. Meghana Bhatt have launched video discovery platform FEM inc. Payne, who is FEM’s CEO, and Mohanty, FEM’s VP of technology, both previously worked for Google in a variety of capacities, while Dr. Bhatt, VP of data science, studied the field of neuroeconomics. FEM’s advisory board includes Geraldine Laybourne, Pat Mitchell, Ravi Jain, Quincy Jones III, Dr. Read Montague and other media, technology and research experts.

Omar Acosta has been tapped as creative director, design at creative agency and content production company 2C. Acosta, who has headed his own studio for the past six years, reports to Chris Sloan, president and executive creative director for 2C.

The Broadcasters Foundation of America voted four new members into its board of directors. The appointments include: Peter Dunn, president of CBS Television Stations; Dave Lougee, president of Gannett Broadcasting; Beth Neuhoff, president and CEO of Neuhoff Communications; and Mike O’Neill, president and CEO of Broadcast Music, Inc.

Diane Sawyer will step down as anchor and managing editor of ABC News’ World News, it was announced on June 25.George Stephanopoulos has been upped to chief anchor for ABC News. The announcements come after a slew of department upheavals, including the exit of Anne Sweeny as president of Disney/ABC TV Group and cochairman of Disney Media Networks. Sawyer will continue to produce and anchor specials for ABC News.

Envivio has tapped Judith Coley as VP of corporate and investor communications, the video processing and delivery solutions company announced on June 25. Coley, who most recently served as VP of marketing for Vuclip, will oversee Envivio’s global marketing, public relations and investor communications.

Samantha Barry has joined CNN as senior director of social news. Barry, who joins from BBC World News, will lead CNN’s social engagement and iReport. She will report to CNN digital VP and managing editor Meredithy Artley.

Lisa Gibbs has been named business editor for the AP. Gibbs, who previously served as executive business editor at the Miami Herald, will manage the AP’s business personnel, which includes more than 65 reporters and editors worldwide.

OTT platform provider Visual Unity has made four additions to its sales team. The new sales managers include Sharon Quigley, Don Golden, Brian Pang and Inanc Vardar.

Jim Sharp has been upped to executive VP of West Coast original programming and development  at Comedy Central, it was announced on June 25. Sharp, who previously held the title of VP, will now manage CC:Studios’ digital development as well as continue to oversee envelopment and production on the West Coast. The exec reports to Comedy Central’s development and programming chief Kent Alterman.

Rob Dyrdek - along with his company Super Jacket - has inked a multiyear production deal with MTV, it was revealed on June 25. The agreement includes the development of a new pilot for the network in addition to new seasons of Fantasy Factory and Ridiculousness as well as the upcoming Snack-Off. Dyrdek has worked with network for eight years, during which time he has produced or starred in four different shows.

Tim Brando has joined Fox Sports’ college football and college basketball roster. Brando, who emcees daily Sirius XM Radio series The Tim Brando Show, will contribute to both Fox and Fox Sports 1’s college sports coverage.

Andrew Woelfling has been named deputy director in the Office of Legislative Affairs at the FCC. Woelfling previously served as Rep. John Dingell’s (D-Mich.) chief of staff and legislative director. Dingell is set to retire at the end of this term.

Mark J. Prak has been inducted into the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. Prak, a graduate of Duke University’s law school, was honored June 23 during the NCAB 2014 Annual Convention. He is currently a partner at law firm Brooks Pierce.

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