Fates & Fortunes Round-Up: April 13-19, 2010

Follow Fates on Twitter @BCFates or me personally @PaigeA, although depending on workload and computer health I’m not always as twittery as I should be. Forward fates to me at BCFates@gmail.com or at palbiniak@gmail.com.

In the News

Chris Berman (pictured left) will continue as one of ESPN’s most familiar voices. The longtime sportscaster has signed a multi-year extension to remain at the network. He arrived at ESPN in October 1979, when the network was just a month old. Currently, Berman hosts Sunday NFL Countdown,Monday Night Countdown and Monday Night Football halftime, as well as NFL highlight segments on SportsCenter. He also hosts the MLB Home Run Derby and contributes to ESPN’s U.S. Open golf coverage. Later this week Berman will once again serve as a host during the 2010 NFL Draft, being held at Radio City Music Hall.

Big Kahunas

Viacom President/CEO Philippe Dauman has gotten a new contract that will keep him atop the media company through December 2016, keeping him at the company for five more years.

Dauman’s current contract terms are not yet available, though they will be filed at the SEC. But according to a 2009 proxy statement, his total compensation in 2008 was $22,385,000. Only $2.5 million of that was in base salary, with $7,835,000 in a “target’ bonus. His total cash compensation was $10,385,000. The additional $12 million was in the increased value of Viacom stock. The result was that 90% of his pay was attributed to performance-based compensation, or everything but the base salary.

Dauman has been president/CEO and a member of the board since 2006, and has been a director of the company since 1987. Before joining the company he was co-chairman and CEO of private equity firm DND Capital Partners, which specialized in media and telecommunications investments.

Programming Prospects

Marjorie Cohn, 23-year veteran of Nickelodeon, has been promoted to the position of president, development and original programming and development at Nickelodeon/MTVN Kids and Family Group. Cohn joined Nickelodeon in 1986 as a unit manager.

Bob Salazar (pictured right) has been named SVP/creative director, brand creative, at MTV Network’s Comedy Central.  He was formerly VP/creative director at Spike TV, where he had worked since 2005. Prior to that, he was at Lifetime and HBO.

Meanwhile, Niels Schuurman’s has been promoted to EVP, brand marketing and creative, at Spike TV. Schuurman joined Spike TV in 2004 and helped to define the channel’s male-oriented brand. Prior to Spike, he spent 13 years at Nickelodeon as a promotions writer/producer, a world wide creative director and eventually senior VP of creative.

Journalism Jumps

The Wall Street Journal’sHerb Greenberg and Kate Kelly are joining CNBC’s on-air roster, reports TVNewser. Greenberg will be senior stocks commentator and Kelly will be a reporter focusing on Wall Street. Greenberg, most recently co-president of Greenberg Meritz Research & Analytics, is a former weekend investor columnist for The Wall Street Journal and a former senior columnist for MartketWatch. Kelly has been a staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal for nearly ten years.

Jamison Uhler, 34, an anchor at the NBC affiliate WCAU Philadelphia, is coming to WFTS Tampa in June to take over the ABC station’s weeknight 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts.

Grant Johnston has been named chief meteorologist at NBC-owned KXAS Dallas/Ft. Worth. For the past seven years, he was forecasting at NBC affiliate, KFOR Oklahoma City, Okla.

Wendi Redman is the new anchor at Media General’s CBS affiliate WBTW Myrtle Beach, S.C. Redman will co-anchor the station’s weeknight 11 p.m. news, and the 10 p.m. news on WFXB, Bahakel’s Fox affiliate that Media General manages. Redman comes to the stations from the ABC affiliate in Winchester, Va.

Lee Zurik is the new weeknight anchor at WVUE New Orleans, starting May 5. Zurik joins John Snell and Nancy Parker at 9 p.m. and Kim Holden, shifted from the station’s early morning newscasts, at 10 p.m. Zurik comes to the station from WWL New Orleans, where he won the George F. Peabody Award for an investigation of the New Orleans Affordable Housing Program. Reporter Jennifer Hale will replace Holden on the station’s morning newcasts.

Station Switches

Mark Willes, president/CEO of Deseret Management Corp., has been named CEO of KSL Broadcast Group, including NBC affiliate KLS Salt Lake City and sister radio outlets. He succeeds Bob Johnson, who leaves May 1 to become president/CEO of Deseret Mutual Benefits Administrators, which administers benefits for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  Willes also will oversee Bonneville Communications, Bonneville Distribution and Bonneville Satellite Company. Jeff Simpson, EVP/COO of Deseret Book Company, becomes KSL Executive VP and COO.

Jerry Jones has been named VP/GM of Nexstar’s KARD-KTVE Monroe, Louisiana/El Dorado, Arkansas. The stations are a Fox and NBC affiliate. Jones comes from KMID Midland, Texas, where he was VP and general manager. Albert Gutierrez, general sales manager of Nexstar’s KLST-KSAN San Angelo, Texas, will succeed Jones as GM of KMID.

Eduardo Fernandez has been named VP/GM at WXYZ Detroit, the Scripps-owned ABC affiliate. He succeeds Bob Sliva, who announced his retirement in January. Fernandez comes from Telemundo outlet WSNS Chicago, where he was president/GM. Before joining Telemundo in 2003, Fernandez worked for 14 years at Fox affiliate WXMI Grand Rapids.

Jeffrey Whitson has been named VP/GM of ABC affiliate WWSB Sarasota, Fla. Whitson comes to the station from Jacksonville, Fla. where he served as VP/GM of the CBS, FOX and MyNetwork affiliates. Prior to that, Whitson was VP/GM of the Fox affiliate in Albany, NY. Whitson is currently a board member of the Florida Association of Broadcasters.

Corporate changes

Debra Goetz has been named VP, Green is Universal and Healthy, on NBC Universal’s Integrated Sales Marketing team, the group charged with leveraging the company’s portfolio of assets to create customized marketing solutions tailored to clients’ business objectives.  Goetz will support the company’s overall integrated sales marketing efforts with a particular focus on “Green is Universal,” NBCU’s ongoing environmental initiative, and “Healthy at NBCU,” the company’s health and wellness effort launching June 2010. Goetz joins NBCU from Univision Communications where she had been VP, corporate marketing since 2006.

Multiplatform Moves

Hal Rosenberg has been named GM of Veria, a health and wellness company that includes Veria TV, Website and all-natural product line. Rosenberg comes to Veria from Scripps Networks, where he was SVP of affiliate sales. Prior to that, he spent 19 years at Showtime, rising to VP/GM of the premium network.

DC  Denizens

One of Washington’s most quotable sources is leaving the FCC … again. Blair Levin, former chief of staff to FCC Chairman Reed Hundt and broadband plan advisor to current chairman Julius Genachowski, is departing the commission May 7 to join The Aspen Institute as a communications and society fellow.  Levin had always said his tenure at the current commission would be temporary.


Mark Kraham, news director of Nextsar’s WHAG Hagerstown, Md., is RTNDA’s new chairman of the board, taking over from Stacey Woelfel, associate professor at the University of Missouri  School of Journalism in Columbia and the news director for the school’s associated TV station, KOMU.  Kraham will be chairman of RTDNA until 2011, while Woelfel will serve as chairman for the Radio Television News Directors Foundation.


Mark S. Richer, president of the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC), was honored with the NAB Engineering Achievement Award at the NAB Technology Luncheon on Wednesday, April 14, in Las Vegas.

In Memoriam

Benjamin Hooks, former FCC commissioner and long-time executive director of the NAACP, died Thursday, April 15, at the age of 85. Hooks was a commissioner from 1972 to 1977.

Kathie Juan, longtime CBS communications writer and editor before retiring in 2002, died April 8 at the age of 70 at Liberty Commons Skilled Care Center in Chatham, Mass., after a short battle with an illness.  Juan spent nearly 35 years at CBS. She is survived by her brother, Lloyd (Skip) Juan, of East Dennis, Mass., and cousin, Pat Bartnett, also of Chatham. Donations can be made in Kathie’s name to the Broad Reach Hospice, 390 Orleans Road, North Chatham, MA, 02650.

Paige Albiniak

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.