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Fates & Fortunes Round-Up: Nov. 17, 2009

Sarah Palin went on Oprah and the world is still turning, so we are happily able to bring you this week’s media moves. As always, you can follow Fates on Twitter @BCFates or me personally @PaigeA if you are willing to put up with tweets about snow totals and traffic on I-70W. Forward fates to me at or at

Big Kahunas

Gary Ginsberg, News Corp.’s EVP of global marketing and corporate affairs and one of Rupert Murdoch’s key advisors, is leaving the company at the end of the year. Ginsberg has been a member of the company’s executive management committee since 2000 and a member of the office of the chairman in 2007. He will be replaced by Teri Everett, SVP for corporate communications, who will be the new head of corporate communications and social responsibility, while Reed Nolte, SVP, will take over investor relations responsibilities. Ginsberg will remain an advisor to Murdoch. Ginsberg joined News Corp. in 1999 as VP, executive corporate communications.

Corporate Changes

Aljit Joy has been promoted to SVP of strategy, communications and product development at Comcast Corp. Joy joined Comcast in 2005, and previously worked as director of strategic planning. Joy received his bachelor of science from Widener University in Pennsylvania and his MBA from F.W. Olin School at Babson College in Massachusetts. He currently resides in Morrisville, PA with his wife, Deepa, and their four children.

Time Warner Cable EVPs Stephen Pagano, William R. Goetz Jr. and Carol Hevey all are moving into new roles at the company, reports Multichannel News. Time Warner Cable is folding its National division into its West region and merging the Northeast and Carolina regions into its East region. Pagano is moving into a corporate EVP role. He had been EVP of operations in the West region, after overseeing TWC systems in Staten Island and Albany, N.Y. Goetz succeeds Pagano as West region EVP of operations, after holding that role in the Northeast region. Carolina region EVP of operations Carol Hevey takes that title in the East. The Texas, Midwest and New York City regions are unaffected. Their respective EVPs of operations are Barry Rosenblum, Terry O’Connell and Howard Szarfarc.

Steven White has been promoted to president of Comcast’s 11-state West Division. White most recently was regional SVP of Comcast’s California Region. Prior to that, he was regional SVP of its Mid-South Region where he also ran Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast, a 24-hour regional sports network based in Atlanta. White takes over for Brad Dusto, a 17-year Comcast veteran who served various leadership roles including CTO. White joined Comcast with the MSO’s 2002 acquisition of AT&T Broadband, where he served as SVP of AT&T’s Atlanta cluster from 2000 to 2002. He had previously served as regional VP in Chicago for TCI, which was purchased by AT&T. Before joining the cable industry, White spent six years with Colgate-Palmolive. White and his wife, Barbita, will relocate from the San Francisco Bay Area to the Denver metro area in early 2010.

Eddie Edwards has been named president and COO of cable and wireless infrastructure vendor CommScope, effective Jan. 1, reports Multichannel News. Edwards, 60, will take over for Brian Garrett, who will retire in 2010 after 30 years with the company. In the interim, Garrett will serve as advisor on several special projects for CommScope.  Edwards joined CommScope in 2001. Most recently he has been EVP /GM, Wireless Network Solutions, which he has held since the acquisition of Andrew Corp. in 2007. In addition, he has been serving as CommScope’s EVP of business development since 2005.

Eileen Kiernan and Sandra Cordova Micek both have been named vice presidents at NBC Universal’s Integrated Sales Marketing team, the group that spearheads NBCU’s targeted cross-platform media deals. Kiernan will be VP, integrated sales marketing, Green is Universal and Healthy, while Micek is VP, Integrated Sales Marketing, Women. Kiernan comes to NBCU from Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSLO), where she was SVP. Micek comes to NBCU from Yahoo!

Programming Prospects

Four more senior executives have joined Discovery/Hasbro’s joint venture:  Amber Fredman-Tarshis is CMO, Dan Pimentel is CFO, Brooke Goldstein is SVP of ad sales and Lorrie Copeland is SVP of consumer insights and research. Fredman-Tarshis comes to the joint venture from Victoria’s Secret, where she served as VP of marketing. She’s also worked as VP of global brand management for Warner Bros. Entertainment. Pimentel was VP at Discovery’s commerce division. Goldstein had been a managing partner at Mediacom Communications. Copeland was previously at Hasbro as SVP and head of consumer insights.

Former CBS exec Laverne McKinnon is joining new pay-cable service Epix as EVP of original programming and development. Epix is a joint venture of Paramount, Lionsgate and MGM. McKinnon comes to Epix from Shibui Entertainment, where she served as president and CEO. Previously, she worked at CBS for ten years, most recently as VP of drama development.

Ben Hurst has been named VP of strategy and business development at Viacom-owned MTV Networks Entertainment Group. Based in New York City, Hurst previously was VP of business development and ad sales strategy at online video service Joost.

John Gruden, the former Super Bowl champion head coach and current Monday Night Football analyst, has reached a multi-year extension with ESPN that will see his role at the network expand. Along with his MNF duties, Gruden will add his commentary to ESPN’s NFL Draft and Super Bowl week coverage. He will also call the NFL Pro Bowl on Jan. 31, 2010 and will serve as analyst for ESPN Radio’s coverage of the 2010 Rose Bowl and BCS title game.

Station Switches

Bill Carey has been named news director at Tribune’s WPIX New York, starting Nov. 30. Carey joins WPIX after serving most recently as station manager and news director for WQAD Moline, Ill., Local TV’s ABC affiliate in the market. Prior to that, Carey founded Bill Carey Consulting in 2008 to work with cable, broadcast and Internet clients, including Cablevision in New York and New Jersey. From 2004 to 2008, Carey was VP/GM of Scripps’ owned ABC affiliate WFTS Tampa, Fla. Prior to that, Carey was the top news executive at WXYZ Detroit. Carey also spent five years at WCBS New York, and worked at CBS’ WBBM Chicago and ABC’s WABC New York.

Former WMAQ vet Anna Davlantes is joining Fox’s WFLD Chicago as a morning anchor and reporter on Fox Chicago News at 9 p.m. Davlantes had been anchoring the weekend news at NBC’s WMAQ for nine years prior to the switch. She also worked at Fox’s KRIV Houston for three years, although she began her career at WTTW Chicago and holds a journalism degree from Northwestern.

Audra Swain was named general manager at Sinclair’s Las Vegas duopoly, KVMY and KVCW, a MyNetworkTV-CW combo. Swain previously was director of sales at Sinclair’s WLOS Greenville-WMYA Asheville duopoly.

Colleen Seitz has been named director of new media at Scripps’ ABC affiliate WEWS Cleveland, reports TVNewscheck. Seitz previously was WEWS’ executive producer of where she oversaw the development, creation and launch of the station’s Web site. She joined WEWS in 1992 as a news producer. Prior to coming to WEWS, Seitz worked as a producer for WKRC Cincinnati and WCMH Columbus, Ohio.

Robert Richardson has been named director of sales for Nexstar’s KARK/KARZ duopoly in Little Rock, Ark. and, reports TVNewscheck. Richardson worked as research director and as an account executive at KARK in the early 1990s.

Journalism Jumps

CNN’s John King will replace Lou Dobbs at 7 p.m. on weekdays and leave his Sunday morning show, State of the Union, beginning early next year. In the meantime, anchors such as Wolf Blitzer, Campbell Brown, Larry King and Anderson Cooper will rotate in the 7 p.m. hour for the remainder of the year. On Nov. 12, The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer will expand to four hours, from 4 to 8 p.m. On Nov. 13, a special honoring America’s veterans will fill the hour.

Deirdre Michalopoulos and Ed O’Keefe have been promoted at, reported WebNewser. Michalopoulos is now senior managing editor of shows and show integration, while O’Keefe was promoted to managing editor of

D.C. Denizens

Journalist Joshua Cinelli is FCC Commissioner’s Michael Copps’ new advisor on media issues, replacing Jamila Bess Johnson, who had been interim media advisor. Cinelli most recently was news Web editor at the New York Daily News, and has covered media for The Huffington Post.

In Memoriam

Ken Ober, best known as the host of the 1980s-era MTV game show “Remote Control,” died this weekend, reported the New York Times. Ober lived in Santa Monica, Calif., and was 52. Cause of death was not immediately known, although he had told a friend that he was suffering from flu symptoms the night before. Besides Remote Control, Ober hosted other game shows, including Make Me Laugh in 1997. He also worked as a producer on Comedy Central’s Mind of Mencia and on CBS’ New Adventures of Old Christine.

Woodie Assaf, longtime weather man at Raycom’s NBC affiliate WLBT Jackson, Miss., died Friday, Nov. 13, at the age of 92, reported the Clarion Ledger. Assaf joined WLBT on Dec. 20, 1953, the day the station first went on the air. His last weather broadcast was at noon on Aug. 2, 2001.

Jim Axel, longtime anchor at Fox-owned WAGA Atlanta, died of cancer on Saturday, Nov. 14, reported He was 75. Axel had been with the station in 1962 and retired in December 1996. Axel is survived by his wife Millie, son Jeff and two other sons, Bob and Jason.

TV engineer Ted Teffner, 69, died last Thursday (Nov. 12). Teffner began his career at Mt. Mansfield’s CBS affiliate WCAX in 1959 as a transmitter engineer. He worked his way up the ladder at the station, until he was named chief engineer in 1992. He spent his last 15 years at the station moving it into the digital and high-def age.