Herzog Expected to Take Comedy Top Spot


USA Network chief Doug Herzog is expected to leave the cable channel and take the top spot at Comedy Central. But the move will likely not happen until the proposed NBC and Universal merger goes through.

Herzog would take over for Comedy Central President and CEO Larry Divney, who is planning to retire in the coming months. Comedy revealed Divney’s plans Wednesday but said "no successor has been announced."

Though USA is flush with good news right now–Monk is on fire and off-net Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is providing a nice boost–Herzog’s departure does not come as a big surprise.

Industry executives have speculated he would leave NBC-Universal if Jeff Gaspin, who heads Bravo and NBC alternative programming, was tapped to oversee Bravo, USA Network and Sci Fi. That hasn’t happened yet, but Gaspin is widely expected to get a wider purview in the new company.

Representatives from Comedy Central and Universal Television would not comment on Herzog’s future.

Comedy Central, now part of Viacom’s MTV Networks, is familiar turf for Herzog. He headed the network from 1995 to 1998, nurturing hits like South Park and The Daily Show. Herzog also spent 11 years at MTV in news and programming.

Herzog also had a short-lived stint outside of cable as president of entertainment for Fox Broadcasting from late 1998 to early 2000, where he is credited with developing Malcolm in the Middle.

Divney, 60, is a well-regarded cable industry vet who has been with Comedy Central since 1991. He took the president's job in 1999 when Herzog left. Prior to that, Divney headed Comedy’s ad sales, sales research, traffic and sales planning and operations departments.