CBS President and CEO Les Moonves has added UPN to his fold.
Viacom said Monday it is integrating the two networks under the CBS
At the same time, Viacom said Paramount Television Group Chairman Kerry
McCluggage is leaving the studio after 10 years.
The two moves are said to be the result of an internal power struggle at
Viacom's TV divisions.
Both moves are effective Jan. 1, 2002.
McCluggage's replacement has not been named, but Moonves will be taking over
at least some of McCluggage's duties.
McCluggage has overseen the company's TV production studios (now including
Paramount Network TV, Big Ticket and Spelling) as well as UPN.
He was named chairman in November 1992.
The future of UPN President Dean Valentine appears even more in doubt.
He is suing Paramount over a contract dispute-he has a year left on his
A number of UPN staff positions are expected to be eliminated as a result of
the melding of the two networks.
Sales and marketing are among the areas that are expected to be affected.
However, CBS and UPN executives had no comment.
Viacom executives say the two networks will 'retain separate on-air
identities and affiliate relationships.'
Viacom President and COO Mel Karmazin said in a statement:
'Today's announcement is the culmination of a process that began with the
merger of Viacom and CBS and realizes an important opportunity to bring new
efficiencies to the broadcast business while maintaining the distinct voices of
CBS and UPN as leaders in free, over-the-air broadcasting.'
UPN is currently enjoying its best season in the ratings since launching
seven years ago.