Steve MacDonald, who has spearheaded Twentieth Television’s precedent-setting off-network cable sales strategy, has been promoted to the newly created post of executive vice president, general sales manager, for basic cable. He joins sales EVPs Paul Franklin (broadcast) and Bob Cesa (advertising) on the organizational chart under president and COO Bob Cook.
Based in Los Angeles, MacDonald, who is being promoted from senior VP and general sales manager of basic cable, will continue to oversee sales of sitcoms, dramas, reality programs and all library product, as well as network window sales of feature films distributed by Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures and Regency Pictures.
Cook credits MacDonald with “playing a leading role in crafting our groundbreaking off-net cable distribution strategy.”
With the off-net launches of the hit dramas NYPD Blue, The X-Files, The Practice, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, Twentieth pioneered the now common industry practice of simultaneous off-network windows in both basic cable and broadcast syndication.
It changed the business model another way when it secured shared off-net runs between multiple cable networks for The X-Files (on TNT, Superstation WGN and Sci Fi Channel), NYPD Blue (on TNT and Court TV) and Judging Amy (on TNT and Hallmark Channel). The company says its cable sale of The X-Files also marked the first drama ever to be licensed in cable with a barter advertising component.
Twentieth Television, meanwhile, initiated the resurrection of the cult hit (and once-cancelled) animated series Family Guy, having developed a marketing campaign with Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment in which the series went to Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim block to coincide with and promote the series’ launch on DVD.
Based on its successful off-net run on Cartoon, it quickly became the second highest sell-through title among all television shows in DVD history. Additionally, it was placed back into production and made for Fox, where it has prospered, and Cartoon in May. Twentieth Television is currently preparing to bring the animated hit to off-net syndication.
MacDonald joined Twentieth Television in 1995 as manager, broadcast sales, Western division, and in 1997 was promoted to be the region’s vice president of broadcast and basic cable sales.