Fates Roundup, Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - Broadcasting & Cable

Fates Roundup, Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Steve Levitan inks new deal with 20th, Doug Baker appointed COO and CFO of DNI and more
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Modern Family cocreator Steve Levitan (pictured left) has inked a new four-year deal with 20th Century Fox TV, it was announced March 18. Under the contract, Levitan will continue as coshowrunner for ABC's Modern Family and develop new projects for the studio. The pact comes not long after the sitcom's executive producers Danny Zuker, Paul Corrigan and Brad Walsh signed similar agreements. Modern Family is currently in its fifth season on the network.  

Discovery Networks International has appointed on March 18 Doug Baker as chief operating officer and chief financial officer. Baker currently works as executive VP and CFO for the company and will move to his new position during the next week or so. The exec, who joined Discovery in 2005, will report to JB Perrette, president of DNI, as well as Andrew Warren, CFO of Discovery Communications. As COO and CFO, Baker will oversee DNI Strategy and Research and lead DNI Finance and Global Brand Solutions.

The National Association of Broadcasters announced on March 18 that it has teamed up with Got Your 6 for the 2014 NAB Show in Las Vegas. Got Your 6, which seeks to bridge the military-civilian divide, will be the event's featured non-profit partner. The "Met a Vet" booth will allow participants to speak with a veteran and learn more about his or her experience. NAB will also hand out Got Your 6's public service announcements as well as incorporate the organization within the conference's conference sessions, fundraising and social media.

Laura Graves has been upped to VP of planning and business operations at ABC 7 Chicago/WLS-TV, the station announced on March 18. The exec had served as assistant controller at WLS since January 2008.

Ovation has shored up its distribution team, upping Pam Bertino to senior VP and naming Anup Thakkar director of business development. Bertino, who previously served as VP of national accounts and content distribution, will manage business development and sales in addition to continuing to oversee national accounts. She reports to Brad Samuels, executive VP of content distribution. Thakkar, who joins from his Thakkar Film Consulting firm, will spearhead the net's distribution and subscriber revenue, reporting to Bertino.

Bravo and Oxygen Media made a number of executive marketing moves on March 17. The NBCUniversal-owned brands promoted four execs: Jamie Cutburth to senior VP of partnership marketing, Bravo and Oxygen Media; Maria Laino DeLuca to senior VP of trade and consumer marketing, Bravo Media; Amy Troiano to senior VP, creative and brand strategy, Bravo Media; and Adam Zeller to VP, social media for Bravo and Oxygen Media. Cutburth, DeLuca, Troiano and Zeller all report to Bravo and Oxygen media marketing head Ellen Stone. The networks also named Taryn Winkelman VP, consumer marketing, Bravo Media, and Jeff Nichols, VP, on-air promotions, Oxygen Media. Winkelman will report to DeLuca, while Nichols will report to Jane Olson, senior VP of marketing and brand strategy for Oxygen Media.

Manuel Abud has been tapped as president and CEO of Azteca America, effective immediately. In his new role, the former president of the Telemundo Station Group will oversee Azteca's newly created 25-station group, reporting to Gustavo Guzmán, senior member of  the executive committee of TV Azteca, S.A.B. de C.V. Abud's executive team at Azteca includes newly minted COO Martin Breidsprecher; Court Stroud, executive VP of network sales; and Enrique Pérez as executive VP of the station group.

Susan Rovner and Brett Paul has ben appointed co-presidents of Warner Horizon Scripted Television, Warner Bros. announced on March 17. The Warner Bros. TV vets will both continue on as executive VPs at WBTV while adding oversight of cable scripted programming. Rovner will now spearhead the development and programming of Warner Horizon's scripted cable television series. Paul will add oversight of all business operations for the studio. Rovner and Paul both report to Peter Roth, group president and chief content officer for Warner Bros. TV.

Drew Tappon has been promoted to senior VP of development and programming at A&E, the network announced on March 17. Tappon, who joined the company at the end of 2011 as VP of non-fiction and alternative programming, will oversee the development and production of the cabler's nonfiction, alternative and reality series. He will report to David McKillop, executive VP and general manager of A&E.

Keith Bowen has been tapped as chief revenue officer at Tribune Company, it was announced on March 17. In the newly created position, Bowen will oversee the broadcaster's revenue across its broadcast and digital media properties. His responsibilities will also include oversight of the company's local television stations and WGN America. The exec, who most recently served as CRO for TV One, LLC and Radio One, Inc., will start his new role on April 1, reporting to Peter Liguori, president and CEO of Tribune.

John Graefe has been upped to chief information officer at Entercom Communications, the company announced on March 17. The exec, who previously had served as VP of IT, will oversee the Entercom's IT operations. He has been with the radio broadcasting company for 12 years.

HBO garnered 10 nominations, the most of any network, for the 20th annual Vision Awards, NAMIC announced on March 14. Four nets drew four nods each: ESPN, Al Jazeera Networks, CNN and OWN/Harpo Studios. Eight channels garnered three noms apiece: Nick at Nite, Disney Channel, Discovery En Espanol, HLN, Lifetime, Mun2, Nickelodeon, and TV One. The awards recognize multiethnic and cross-cultural television programming that accurately reflects the diversity of the global audience.

Rep. John Dingell, who recently announced he will not be running for re-election, was hospitalized on March 13 to undergo a heart procedure to correct an arrhythmia. Dingell's office said the former chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee was expected to be released on March 14. The Capitol Hill veteran is Congress' longest serving member.

Jane Latman has been upped to general manager of Discovery Fit & Health, the company announced on March 13. Latman, who has spent the last 11 years at Discovery, most recently served as senior VP of development at Investigation Discovery, a role she will continue under her new appointment. As GM, she will report to Henry Schleiff, group president of Investigation Discovery, Destination America, American Heroes Channel and Discovery Fit & Health. She replaces Nancy Daniels, who moved to sister network TLC as general manager last September.

IFC has appointed Peter Aronson executive VP of original programming and production, the company announced on March 13. Aronson, who most recently was executive VP of Alloy Digital, will oversee all aspects of the net's original programming, which includes Portlandia, Maron, Comedy Bang! Bang!, The Birthday Boys, The Spoils of Babylon  and upcoming Garfunkel and Oates. The exec has also had stints at Walt Disney Television and Touchstone Television and founded the multi-platform company Generate.

Chris Fowler has been tapped as ESPN's lead college football play-by-play announcer. Under the deal, which goes through 2023, Fowler will join Kirk Herbstreit for ABC's Saturday Night Football. Fowler will continue to host College GameDay, a Saturday morning pregame show, as well as the net's coverage of tennis. The mic man replaces Brent Musburger, who is heading to the upcoming SEC Network. Musburger will join Jesse Palmer behind the SEC Network booth. The duo will emcee their first telecast on Aug. 28.

Starcom USA made a number of executive announcements on March 13. The media communications agency named Chicago's Brenda White as executive VP; Los Angeles' Jeffrey Pray and Chicago's Colleen Leahy and Trina Potter as senior VPs; and Chicago's Kira Clifton, Jonathan Haynes, Zach Isaacs, Lindsay Leon-Atkins, Amanda Lombardi, Brooke McCaughrin, Colleen Robson and Gumala Steele as well as New York's Anne Sas as VPs

The National Cable & Telecommunications association announced on March 12 that Comcast Cable president and CEO Neil Smit and Suddenlink Communications senior VP and chief programming officer Patty McCaskill were chosen to receive the 2014 Vanguard Award for Distinguished Leadership. The awards, which are now in its 50th year, will be presented on April 30.

John Honeycutt has been elevated to chief technology officer at Discovery Communications, the company announced on March 12. Honeycutt, who most recently served as executive VP and COO for Discovery Networks International, will oversee the worldwide technology operations for the company, reporting to CFO Andy Warren. The exec has been with Discovery for 11 years and was honored with Broadcasting & Cable's Technology Leadership Award in 2009.

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