The White House is calling on another broadcaster to help get its message out.Kevin Sullivan, former senior VP of corporate communications and media relations for NBC Universal, has been named White House communications director. That puts him in the West Wing and makes him the real-life counterpart to Toby Ziegler from Sullivan’s favorite show, NBC’s just ended The West Wing.
Sullivan’s tenure will begin July 24, but, "I won’t be bouncing a tennis ball off the wall," he tells B&C, referring to Ziegler’s nervous habit on the show. He replaces Nicolle Wallace, who left at the end of June.
Sullivan left the Peacock in April 2005, appointed by the president to be assistant secretary of education, communications and outreach. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings is a Sullivan fan and goes back a long way with President Bush. He was approached about the job by Dan Bartlett, former communications director and now counselor to the president .
Sullivan will be overseeing strategic communications and long-range planning, handling contacts with regional press while Press Secretary Tony Snow deals with the White House press corps and their daily briefing.
Sullivan can also talk Texas sports with the president, who once owned a piece of the Texas Rangers. Before joining NBC in 2000, Sullivan spent 17 years with the Dallas Mavericks, leaving as VP of communications.
Snow, an ex-Fox newsman, was brought aboard in May, and former ABC newsman J. Dorrance Smith joined as assistant secretary of defense for public affairs a few weeks before.