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Fates & Fortunes Weekly Round-Up

Here’s this week’s round-up of who’s coming and going in the media industry.

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Big Kahunas

Stephen Davis named president of Los Angeles-based Hasbro Studios, which will produce shows for Hasbro’s new joint venture with Discovery Communications scheduled to debut in fall 2010.

Corporate Changes

Google CEO Eric Schmidt exited the board of Apple last week, with Apple CEO Steve Jobs citing the increased competitiveness of Google in some of Apple’s core businesses, such as browsers (Apple’s Safari vs. Google’s Chrome) and mobile operating systems (Apple’s iPhone vs. Google’s coming open-platform-based Android).

Hollywood Happenings

Paula Abdul, American Idol’s third judge for the show’s first eight seasons, is leaving the show, she announced via Twitter late on Tuesday, Aug. 4. Variety’s sources report Abdul wanted $20 million to stay on board – more than host Ryan Seacrest inked on an annualized basis and without the production deal that Seacrest threw into the mix – but was not able to reach a deal with Idol’s producers, FremantleMedia North America and 19 Entertainment.

Programming Promotions

Lori Teig and Leanne Elias named senior talent executive and talent executive of TBS’ new late-night talker, Lopez Tonight, starring George Lopez. Lopez Tonight premieres on Nov. 9, 2009.

Laura Danford Mandel was promoted to senior vice president of publicity at Telepictures Productions.

Station Swaps

Brian Burns named VP/COO of Morgan Murphy Media. He departs his director of new media post, and will “oversee the day-to-day operations of the company’s nine TV stations, 12 radio stations, Internet and New Media operations, and Madison Magazine,” said Morgan Murphy in a statement.

KLTV Tyler VP/General Manager Brad Streit named one of Raycom’s three group vice presidents. He moves in for the retiring Marty Edelman.

Susan Sullivan, VP of News at NBCU-owned KNTV, coming east to head up news at sister NBC O&O WNBC New York.

Journalism Jumps

WGNO New Orleans anchor Liz Reyes signed off the 10 p.m. newscast Wednesday, Aug. 5, with a farewell to viewers. Statement management told Reyes several weeks ago that they wouldn’t be renewing her contract, reports the Times-Picayune.

Anchor Charles Perez was terminated by Post-Newsweek’s WPLG Miami. Days earlier, Perez had filed a discrimination complaint against the station, saying the station demoted him to weekend anchor/reporter because executives “discomfort over the increasingly high profile of my sexual orientation,” according to Perez’ complaint, reports the Miami Herald. Station executives say Perez’ dismissal is  unrelated to his filing, and that his filing is full of “misstatements and untruths.”

More changes in Chicago: Reporter Harry Porterfield, 81, is returning to CBS-owned WBBM, nearly 25 years after he was demoted at the station and then moved over to ABC’s WLS, according to the Chicago Tribune’s Phil Rosenthal. WLS recently refused to renew Porterfield’s contract. Porterfield will co-anchor the 11 a.m. newscast with Roseanne Tellez starting Aug. 10.

Political Prospects

Senate confirms Sonia Sotomayor as a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Former FCC Chairman Bill Kennard nominated by President Obama to be Ambassador to the European Union. Kennard currently is managing director of Manhattan-baesd private equity firm The Carlyle Group.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced several senior broadband development staffers who will work under Blair Levin, executive director of the Omnibus Broadband Initiative (OBI). Chief among those appointments are General Manager Erik Garr as well as Brian David, adoption and usage director;  Kristen Kane, national purposes director; John Horrigan, consumer research director; and Rob Curtis, deployment director.

Former WJLA Washington, D.C. reporter Roberta Baskin will join the Department of Health and Human Service’s office of inspector general as a senior communications adviser in mid-August. Baskin also worked for PBS’ NOW with Bill Moyers, CBS’ 48 Hours and ABC’s 20/20. She also was executive director of the Center for Public Integrity.


Raycom President Paul McTear will receive the NAB’s Chuck Sherman Television Leadership Award at the NAB Small Market Television Exchange, held Oct. 1-3 in San Antonio.


John W. Kiermaier — who steered New York City’s major public TV station, WNET, through precarious financial times in the 1960s — died July 27 in Norwalk, Conn. He was 87. Kiermaier was president of WNET from September 1969 through May 1970.