Jeff Sagansky has stepped down as president and CEO of
Paxson Communications Corp. and instead will serve as a consultant to the
company, as well as vice chairman of the board of directors.
Chairman Bud Paxson reassumes the role of CEO, and Dean Goodman, head of Pax TV, who has been company chief operating officer for the past year, gets the title of president, as well.
As a consultant, Sagansky will focus on programming for the network, although
his deal is nonexclusive and he is free to work on non-Paxson projects. But for
now, he has no other projects lined up, Sagansky told Broadcasting &
In a joint interview, Paxson and Sagansky laid out the background leading up
to Monday's announcement that Sagansky was relinquishing his executive
Sagansky had approached Paxson earlier this year about stepping down, having
tired of a regular commute between New York, where he lives with his family, and
West Palm Beach, Fla., where Paxson is based.
At the time, Paxson disclosed, he was still recovering from brain surgery to
remove an aneurysm that he underwent late last year. "I asked him to wait until
I got all my senior-citizen work done," Paxson said, referring to both the brain
surgery and knee surgery that he had done this fall. The knee surgery kept
Paxson laid up for a month, but now, he has begun walking without a cane, he
said. So they decided to proceed with the new arrangement.
Paxson says he's raring to get to back to work full-time. "I've been chomping
at the bit. I've been wanting to be back to work for 18 months. I just couldn't
get out of bed long enough," he added.
The consultancy is open-ended, but Paxson said it will go at least three
years, which would coincide with the length of Sagansky's initial term as vice
chairman of the board. "It's going to go for that period of time, anyway," he added.
News of Sagansky's new role followed by just days a filing with the
Securities and Exchange Commission in which Paxson and NBC amended the terms of
their strategic alliance. The amendment extends to next spring a window that
lets NBC demand that Paxson buy NBC's stake in the company at cost plus 8
The window was to have expired in November. Now it expires April 4, but NBC
has promised not to execute it prior to March 28, and only then with five days'
Both sides are working to improve the relationship, which got very rocky
over an arbitration proceeding that Paxson launched to get out of the alliance.
But the arbitrator ruled in NBC's favor about two months ago.