Fates & Fortunes Round-Up: July 6 – July 13, 2010

Staffers at ABC News have spent much of the past year watching the axe fall all around them – now it seems it’s CBS News’ turn. Forbes’ Dirk Smillie reports that additional layoffs are coming to the Eye, citing two veteran producers. Still, the layoffs will be much less than the 350-400 seen at ABC this year.

Smillie also reboots rumors about a potential CBS + CNN merger, speculating that CNN President Jon Klein might end up running the venture.

Follow Fates on Twitter @BCFates or me personally @PaigeA. Forward fates to me at BCFates@gmail.com or at palbiniak@gmail.com.


Mike Darnell, Fox’s president of alternative programming, has reupped for another three years, reports the Hollywood Reporter. Darnell decided to stay put after being courted by NBC, which is looking to reset its own reality programming department.


Bob Mohler has been bumped up to SVP of digital media at Warner Bros.’ Telepictures Productions. He had been executive in charge of new media since 2007. Mohler started at Telepictures in 2000 as a Web producer for Extra.com, and was named director of new media in 2003. In 2005, he was named executive director of new media while serving as supervising producer and director of operations for TMZ.com. Prior to joining Telepictures, Mohler was professor of acting at DePaul University, and managing director and artistic director of the Eclipse Theater Company in Chicago. He moved to Los Angeles in 1998.

James Canniffe has been promoted to SVP of U.S. development and alternative programming at Sony Pictures Television. Prior to this, he had been VP of alternative development since 2008.

Eli Lehrer was moved up to VP of development at NBC Universal’s Bravo. He’ll relocate to L.A. for the post. Previously, Lehrer was VP of development and production, East Coast, since 2008. He joined bravo from VH1, where he was manager of East Coast development.

Judson Touby has been named senior producer of Entertainment Studios’ new syndicated court show, America’s Court with Judge Ross. Touby previously was a producer of Twentieth’s Emmy-winning Cristina’s Court.

Tom Reeve has been named EVP of sales for sports and entertainment marketing company Intersport. Reeve most recently was Southwest Director of Sales at Screenvision, a national leader in cinema advertising, and EVP of sales at Winnercomm, an independent sports production, program development, marketing services and sales rep company.


Lots of changes on TV’s crime beat. Sela Ward is joining the cast of CBS’ CSI: NY, replacing Melina Kanakaredes, who opted not to renew her contract. CSI’s Marg Helgenberger renewed her contract,reports EW’s Michael Ausiello. And former Jericho starSkeet Ulrich will star in NBC’s Law & Order: Los Angeles, aka LOLA.

ESPN has named former NFL linebacker Antonio Pierce an analyst for its NFL Live, SportsCenter, and ESPNEWS telecasts as well as for ESPN Radio and online.


Nextstar-owned KARK Little Rock employees Pete Thompson, Courtney Collins, Jake Hatley and Chris Jamesonwere fired in the aftermath of two profanity-laden spoof videos posted to video-sharing website YouTube, according to ArkansasBusiness.com. In addition, up to five off-air employees were suspended for three days. The videos spoof broadcast news and life in central Arkansas

Scott Centers is Coastal Television Broadcasting’s new GM of operations in Alaska, overseeing Fox affiliate KTBY, ABC affiliate KIMO and CW affiliate KWBX, as well as a joint operating agreement between Coastal and stations in Juneau and Fairbanks. Most recently, Centers was director of sales New Vision’s WJCL/WTGS Savannah.

Terry Gallaher is joining NBC O&O WMAQ Chicago as director of integrated media, overseeing the editorial and revenue generation of NBCChicago.com, reports TVNewscheck.  Gallaher replaces Lora Le Sage, who was promoted to VP, digital media operations for NBC local media in New York. Gallaher joins WMAQ from Crain’s Chicago Business, where he was been general manager of Crain’s Interactive for the last three and a half years.

Andrew Stewart, VP, director of sales, for Madden Media, has been named VP/GM of Bonten Media Group’s ABC affiliates KRCR Chico-Redding and KAEF Eureka, both in California. Stewart previously was VP/GM of KGUN Tucson, Ariz., and then VP/GM of KWBA, Tucson. Andrew has also been director of broadcast sales for Lee Enterprises and a director of sales for several TV stations.


Bill Hemmer has signed a multi-year, multimillion dollar to remain morning anchor at Fox News Channel, reports The Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz. Hemmer’s program dominates its time period, averaging 1.3 million viewers this year, more than the combined audiences for CNN, MSNBC and HLN, reports TVNewser.

Fox Business Network’s Jenna Lee is moving over to Fox News to become the new co-anchor of Happening Now, joining Jon Scott, reports TVNewser. She replaces Jane Skinner, who left Fox News late last month to spend more time with her family. Lee was one of FBN’s original anchors when it launched in 2007, and before that worked as a news anchor and reporter for Forbes.com and NY1.

NBC News Correspondent Dawna FriesenGood Morning America co-anchor Kevin Newman.
Jim Goldman, CNBC’s Silicon Valley bureau chief since 2003, is leaving to join PR firm Burson-Marsteller’s San Francisco office, reports TVNewser. Fortune’s Jon Fortt is replacing him.

Octavia Nasr, CNN’s senior editor of Mideast Affairs, was fired, reports Talking Points Memo (and others), for tweeting the following: “Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah… One of Hezbollah’s giants I respect a lot.” Apparently just mentioning Hezbollah, a Lebanon-based political (many say terrorist) organization, is tricky. Chez Pazienza, former CNN correspondent and now blogger for the Huffington Post, posted this essay defending Nasr and flaming CNN. Mediaite posted this memo from Parisa Khosravi, CNN’s SVP of international newsgathering, explaning CNN’s decision.

Amy Walter, national editor of National Journal’s “The Hotline,”will become political director at ABC News, reports MediaBistro.

The Washington Examiner’s Chris Stirewalt is joining Fox News as a political analyst.

Jeremy Hubbard, anchor at ABC’s World News Now, is becoming a digital correspondent for ABC News, reports MediaBistro. Rob Nelson is replacing him on World News Now’s anchor desk.

ESPN reporter (and former Dancing with the Stars contestant) Erin Andrews has signed a new deal with the sports cable network, reports TVNewser. Andrews also will be a regular contributor to ABC’s Good Morning America.

Fox News anchor Julie Banderas, who had a baby girl on April 21,returns to her post on the weekend edition of FNC’s Fox Report next week.

Scott Heidler, Middle East correspondent for Fox News Channel, is joining Al Jazeera English, based in Washington, D.C.

Jericka Duncan will join CBS’ KYW/WPSG Philadelphia as a general assignment reporter in August, reports TVNewscheck. She comes to the duopoly from WIVB Buffalo, N.Y., where she’s been on-air since August 2007. Previously, she was an anchor-reporter at WETM Elmira, N.Y., from 2005 until 2007.

Ben Bradley is being moved up to weekend news anchor from reporter at ABC’s WLS Chicago, joining Stacey Baca on the weekend morning anchor desk, reports Robert Feder. Bradley would replace Kevin Roy, who was fired last April after he’d repeatedly failed to show up for work, citing “physical exhaustion.” Eric Horng, a Chicago-based correspondent for ABC News, is the leading candidate to replace Bradley, insiders said. Horng joined ABC in 2003 from CNN.

Sports anchor/reporter  Tara Pachmayer has left WKRC Cincinnati, reports Cincinnati.com’s John Kiesewetter. No reason was given for her departure.

Jackie Monroe is the new anchor at Raycom’s WFIE Evansville, Ind., reports the Evansville Courier-Press. Monroe formerly was an anchor at Fox affiliate WTVW, but left the station last summer. She’s been working as a producer at WFIE since then, but couldn’t appear on camera due to a non-compete clause in her contract with WTVW. WFIE also hired Araceli Thiele as a weekend anchor and reporter. Thiele comes to the station from WGEM Quincy, Ill.

Justin Farmer is replacing John Pruitt as the 11 p.m. anchor on Cox’s WSB Atlanta. Farmer also anchors the station’s 5 p.m. newscast with Jovita Moore. Pruitt will remain the 6 p.m. anchor with Monica Pearson.

Chris Grogan is the new news director at News Press and Gazette’s ABC affiliate KJCT Grand Junction, Colo., replacing Karla Stotts. Grogan comes to the station from KFBB Great Falls, Mont., but he’s worked as an anchor/reporter in Grand Junction before.

Johnnie L. Roberts, former media reporter at Newsweek, has joined Web-based Hollywood trade The Wrap as editor-at-large.


TRA, a provider of TV-ratings measurement  software, has added three execs to its team: Fariba Zamaniyan is the new SVP of sales; Bob Pares is SVP of network sales; and Jonathan Sims is VP of product management. Media analyst Jack Myers has been named to the company’s advisory board. Zamaniyan formerly was an SVP at Nielsen. Pares previously was TiVo’s VP of audience research and measurement sales and Sims was Comcast Spotlight’s VP of research.

Lisa Theodore is the new VP of travel and international at Tribune365, Tribune Co.’s cross-platform sales organization.


Kevin Joyce is the new chief sales and marketing officer at Miranda Technologies, which manufacturers TV broadcast equipment. Previously, he was with Vancouver-based Creo, a supplier to the graphics arts and micro-electronics industries, and with Eastman Kodak, which purchased Creo in 2005. Joyce was president of Eastman Kodak’s U.S. division.


Joel Kelsey, policy analyst for the D.C.-based Consumers Union, is joining Free Press as a political advisor.


Constance Cannon Frazier, currently exec VP of corporate programming and development at the American Advertising Federation, has been promoted to COO. She succeeds Jeffry L. Perlman, who is retiring.

Graham Jones, senior director of communications engineering, science and technology at the National Association of Broadcasters, is retiring.


Sunil Shahani has been named head of new business development for Scripps Networks International in India. He comes to the company from Balahi Telefilms Ltd. in Mumbai, where he was CFO. Prior to that, he was the head of finance and distribution for The Walt Disney Co. in India, and he was CFO and head of production management for MTV Networks India.

Enrique Juarez has been named VP, sales liaison for Latin America, NBC Universal International Television Distribution. Juarez joins NBC Universal from Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. where he was most recently director, pan-regional advertising sales, Latin America, for the Warner Channel.   Prior to that, he was director of sales, Latin America and Caribbean, for Warner Bros. International Television Distribution.  Before joining Warner Bros. in 2000, Juarez was director, Latin America, consumer panel services, for The Nielsen Company.


Leslie Ellis, columnist for Multichannel News and cable industry consultant, is the recipient of the 2010 Women in Technology Award presented by Women in Cable Telecommunications, the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers and Communications Technology magazine.


NY Yankees owner and legendary personality George Steinbrenner died on Monday, July 12, after suffering a massive heart attack. He was 80. Besides owning the Yankees, Steinbrenner also launched the Yankees Entertainment and Sports (YES) Network  in 2002. He is survived by his wife, Joan;  his sisters, Susan Norpell and Judy Kamm, his children, Hank, Jennifer Jessica and Hal; and his grandchildren.

I found this story particularly sad: The body of Former Fox News producer Julianne Rolle, 39, was found at the bottom of a cliff near her father’s Southern California home over the July 4 weekend. Whether she fell or committed suicide was not known, but Rolle’s mother had recently died after a long bout of cancer, and Rolle had been really struggling with that. Mediaite’s Dan Abrams showed another side of himself when he wrote this blog talking about how he had once dated Rolle, calling her “one of the loves of my life,” and lamenting that he learned about her death via the media. Dan’s touching essay about Julia is worth a read.

Boston Hall of Fame TV anchor John Henning, 73, died of myelodysplastic syndrome, a precursor to leukemia. During his time on air, he worked for WGBH, WNAC, WHDH (which later became WCVB), and finally, WBZ, essentially anchoring on all of Boston’s major local TV news outlets. He ended his career as a senior adviser at Denterlein Worldwide Public Affairs as a senior adviser. Henning is survived by two sons, Matthew and Gregory; five brothers, James, Michael, Daniel, Paul, and Peter; and three grandchildren.

Jack Wells, a pioneering broadcaster who hosted Baltimore’s first morning TV show, died June 27 from complications of a stroke at a Los Angeles nursing home. He was 86. During his long career, Wells also hosted TV’s Dialing for Dollars and did voiceovers and guest stints on several soap operas. Wells is survived by his wife Shirley, his son Glenn and his stepchildren, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Elliot Fischoff, veteran entertainment marketing executive, died July 1 at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center of complications from thyroid cancer. He passed away on the eve of his 57th birthday.  Fischoff most recently was executive vp of the television and film marketing practice at Rogers & Cowan in Los Angeles. Before joining Rogers & Cowan in 2004, he was senior vp worldwide marketing at the Jim Henson Co. He also served as senior managing director of the entertainment practice at Hill and Knowlton and held senior executive positions at Weintraub Entertainment Group, Lorimar, MGM/UA and Fox.  He is survived by his daughter Danielle; son Alexander; brothers Richard and Jay; sister- in-law Patty; sister Lynn; nephew David; and former wife Debra Cherney.

Rhode Island broadcaster Robert Fish, 65, passed away on July 9. He is survived by his wife Jane; brothers Kenneth and Larry;  sons Brett and Blair and their wives Kristen and Christie; and five grandchildren. He got his start in radio, and then went on to run G&C Broadcasting, which owned two stations in Phoenix. He also served as the chairman of U.S. Broadcast Group, and the president of the Rhode Island Broadcasters Association. Most recently, he was the president of WSBE Rhode Island, Cranston’s PBS station. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made online to The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network at www.pancan.org or by calling 877-272-6226.

Jack Craig, the Boston Globe’s sports TV and radio critic for 30 years, died Friday, July 9, at the age of 81.

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.