Fates & Fortunes Weekly Round-Up: Oct. 23, 2009

B&C welcomed 11 industry luminaries and Monday Night Football into its 19th Hall of Fame class on Tuesday, Oct. 20. ET’s Mary Hart gently ribbed her boss, inductee Linda Bell Blue, who’s been known to say: “Relaxing is not my strength.”

That could probably be the motto for all the supermen and women that joined our Hall of Fame last week. Welcome all!

On to this week’s goings and comings. As always, you can follow us on Twitter @BCFates (or me personally @PaigeA, but Thursdays and Fridays are largely dedicated to dishing about Top Chef and Project Runway. Forgive me, I’m addicted). Forward fates to me at BCFates@gmail.com or at palbiniak@gmail.com.

Big Kahunas

All eyes remain on Comcast’s likely acquisition of NBC Universal. Former News Corp./Fox honchos Peter Chernin and Peter Ligouri are both key consultants on the deal, as reported by multiple outlets. Whether either will have a role at the new company should a deal go through remains unknown, as does the status of the acquisition, although Sharon Waxman’s The Wrap on Thursday (Oct. 22) reported that meetings were ongoing and progressing.

Journalism Jumps

George Stephanopoulos’ star is on the rise at ABC. The former Clinton insider has been officially designated as Diane Sawyer’s back-up when she takes over as anchor for ABC World News next year, reported Politico on Friday, Oct. 16. He’s also a leading candidate to take over Diane Sawyer’s spot on Good Morning America, reports B&C’s Marisa Guthrie. Now if he could just make his name easier to spell.

ABC News senior legal correspondent Jan Crawford Greenburg is leaving ABC for CBS News, reports TVNewser. Greenburg, an Alabama native and mother of four, joined ABC News three years ago. Before ABC, Crawford Greenburg spent 20 years as a reporter for The Chicago Tribune, much of the time spent covering the Supreme Court. In 1998, she began providing legal analysis for PBS’ The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, where she remained until ABC brought her on in 2007. She’ll continue to cover the high court for CBS, but she’ll first have to sit out a non-compete clause in her ABC contract. Nightline’s Terry Moran will cover the court in the meantime, as he has done in the past.

Chuck Collins has been named meteorologist for the late evening newscasts on Granite’s NBC affiliate WEEK, Four Seasons’ My Network TV affiliate WAOE and Barrington’s ABC affiliate WHOI in Peoria-Bloomington, Ill. Collins comes to the stations from Nexstar-owned WMBD TV and radio, where he worked for the past 23 years, the last ten as chief meteorologist. Granite operates WHOI under a joint sales and shared services agreement, and also operates WAOE under similar arrangements.

Andrew Gobeil is joining Global Broadcasting’s ABC affiliate WLNE Providence, R.I., reports TVNewscheck. Beginning Wednesday Oct. 21, he will join Doreen Scanlon weekdays between 5 and 8 a.m. to co-anchor Good Morning Providence. Gobeil’s background includes time at stations in Las Vegas, Greenville, and Mobile.

After losing his NBC News gig in NBCU’s giant round of layoffs last December, Kevin Corke will become the main anchor at NBC owned station WTVJ Miami, filling the role recently vacated by Julia Yarbrough, reports TVNewser (and Corke’s Facebook page). He joins the station at the beginning of the year. Corke most recently served as an NBC network correspondent, covering the White House, anchoring Nightly News and appearing on the Today Show.

Dawn Stensland, 45, will end her eight-year run as a main anchor at Fox-owned WTXF Philadelphia by the time her contract expires at the end of this year. Kerri-Lee Halkett, 38, will assume the female seat on the station’s 10 p.m. show with Thomas Drayton.

Stephanie Guadian has been named morning anchor at TKTK’s TK affiliate KFOX El Paso, Texas, reports the El Paso Times.

Howard Shapiro, 62, is retiring from TKT-owned Fox affiliate WTVT Tampa Bay, Fla., after 35 years at the station, reports the Tampa Tribune.

CNBC correspondent and Apprentice runner-up Rebecca Jarvis has left the network, reports TV Newser. Insiders tell the blog that she may be headed to CBS News.

Programming Prospects

Adam Shankman and Bill Mechanic will produce the 82nd Academy Awards, Variety reports. The duo replace Bill Condon and Laurence Mark, producers of last season’s show, which enjoyed the first ratings boost in years with Hugh Jackman as host. The Oscars will air March 7 on ABC. A host has yet to be selected, although recent reports indicate Jackman will not repeat.

Brooke Burke, television personality and mother of four children, has been named “Mommy Correspondent” on CBS Television Distribution’s The Doctors. Burke will pay house calls to mothers and act as a liaison between mothers and The Doctors’ panel of doctors. Burke’s first appearance on the show is scheduled for Nov. 5.

Marc Guggenheim, EP and co-showrunner of ABC’s FlashForward, is leaving the freshman series. Co-creator/exec producer David Goyer is stepping in as sole showrunner, reports The Hollywood Reporter’s Nellie Andreeva. Similarly, two weeks ago, showrunner/EP Dee Johnson departed CBS’ The Good Wife, starring Julianna Margulies.  Co-creators/EPs Michelle and Robert King are now solely running that show. Both FlashForward and Good Wife have been picked up for a full season.

John Miller has been named SVO, original productions and development for WE tv and Wedding Central, reports Multichannel News. Based in New York, Miller will develop original programming and serve as executive in charge of production on all network-produced programming. Miller most recently was EVP of TV at The Weinstein Co Previously, Miller held positions at Touchstone Television, Telepictures Productions and MTV. We TV and Wedding Central also promoted Elizabeth Doree and Terence Coffey, one of Doree’s direct reports.

Barbara Wellner has been named VP of programming at Metan Development Group. Previously, Wellner was a senior producer that helped develop and launch News Corp.’s cable network F/X. From there, she became VP of programming at Twentieth Television, and then West Coast programming consultant for Bravo and Independent Film Channel. She’s produced programs for TV Guide, Food Network, Sci-Fi Channel, Style Network and developed projects for King World, TLC and The Family Channel. She was the original EP of E!’s The Soup. Most recently she was co-EP on the weekly comedy series Reality Binge for the soon to be defunct Fox Reality Channel.

Corporate Changes

Dave Dickman has been named SVP of digital media sales at Warner Bros. Television Group. Dickman joins the studio after three years with Yahoo!, where most recently he was head of sales for the Western/Midwest region. Shannon Pruitt also has been named VP of sales development for WBTVG’s digital media sales team, working closely with Dickman. Pruitt comes to WBTVG from Agility Studios, where she was SVP of  integrated sales sponsorship and marketing.

Melissa Bear has been named SVP, business and legal affairs, East Coast at Comedy Central, while Michael Tenzer has been named SVP, business and legal affairs, West Coast. Bear comes to Comedy Central from sister network TV Land where she had been VP of business and legal affairs since 2007. Tenzer joins Comedy Central from International Creative Management (ICM) where he had been SVP and head of television businesses affairs.

Mark O’Leary has been named regional VP of business services for Comcast’s California Region. Previously, O’Leary was EVP of broadband services for Excite@Home. He also spent 19 years withAT&T in various positions including VP of managed network services, director of global technical marketing and GM of national accounts.

Mary Barnas is the new head of Cox Cross Media’s Local Solutions Group. Barnas comes to Cox from Carat, where she was EVP and director of local broadcast.

Lauren McCollester and Jeeun Kim have each been promoted at NBC Universal Cable. McCollester is now SVP of business affairs, focusing on Bravo and Oxygen, while Kim is VP of business affairs.

Sharon Otterman joins MSNBC as VP and CMO. She comes from ESPN where she was VP of customer experience and digital marketing.

Station Switches

Marc Montoya has been named Nexstar’s SVP, eMedia sales and operations. Prior to joining Nexstar, Mr. Montoya co-founded Noofangle Media, an Internet media company, serving as president since 2007. Before that, he was VP, business development for Match.com.

Adam Shapiro has been promoted to general sales manager at WPIX New York, Tribune’s CW affiliate. Shapiro had been the station’s local sales manager since 2005, and he joined the station as an account executive in 1998.

Deborah Kehoe has been appointed local sales manager at Titan Broadcast’s CW affiliate WCWG Greensboro/Winston-Salem/High Point, N.C.. Kehoe joins the station from WZTV Nashville where she has been national sales manager since 2003.

John Dawson has been named president and general manager of New Vision’s KSNW and its three satellite stations in Wichita, Kan. Dawson will be taking over for Al Buch, who after 20 years at the NBC affiliate and 50 in broadcasting is retiring at the end of 2009. Most recently, Dawson was president of his own management consulting firm in Indianapolis whose clients included New Vision Television.

Celia Chavez has been named president and general manager at Telemundo’s WSNS Chicago after serving in the same position at two other Telemundo stations, KBLR Las Vegas and KDEN Denver. Telemundo also promoted Erika Diaz to station manager at KSTS San Francisco/San Jose. Diaz was most recently the station’s operations manager.

Tech Trades

Studio-backed Internet-to-TV startup ZillionTV has named former Dotcast chief financial officer Jack Lawrence its CEO, reports B&C sister pub Multichannel News. Lawrence replaces Mitch Berman, who will remain as executive chairman. Lawrence had been COO of toy manufacturer Corgi since 2007. Prior to that, he was CFO of games company Cranium and of Dotcast, the company that supplied underlying datacasting technology for Disney’s now-defunct MovieBeam service.

Mark Sharp has been named regional sales manager for Ross Video’s mid-Atlantic USA region. Sharp comes to Ross from Harris Corp., where he was regional sales manager. Ross Video also named Brian Olson  business development manager for the company’s XPression, Ross’ Real Time 2D/3D HD character generator, reports TVNewscheck. Olson will be based in Nebraska and will report to Kyle Luther, national sales manager - USA. Olson joins Ross after working for Miranda Technologies as director of business development.

D.C. Denizens

Former FCC Chairman Reed E. Hundt is joining D.C. law firm Skadden Arps, according to the blog Abovethelaw.com, which reports Hundt made the announcement himself at a Yale alumni reunion on Saturday, Oct. 17. Most recently, Hundt was a senior advisor on information industries to consulting firm McKinsey & Company.

Peter Pappas has been named chief communications officer of the Office of the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. In the Clinton administration, Pappas served as associate chief of the FCC’s International Bureau as well as the State Department’s director of communications for economic affairs and assistant White House counsel. Prior to that, Pappas was executive vice president for legal and governmental affairs at Pappas Telecasting.


Dan Glickman, who has served as chairman and CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based Motion Picture Association of America for the past five years, says he’ll step down when his contract expires next September, reports Politico.com. Glickman’s predecessor, the late Jack Valenti, held the post for nearly 40 years. Names circulating as possible replacements, according to Politico, include California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Rep. Harold Ford Jr., Universal Music lobbyist Matt Gerson, Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), a longtime friend of Glickman’s, and internal candidates Richard Bates of Disney, MPAA COO Bob Pisano and federal affairs chief Michael O’Leary.

David White has been named the Screen Actors Guild’s permanent national executive director in a 71% vote, reports Variety. He had been serving as interim executive director. White’s contract runs through February 2012 and also elevates him to chief negotiator. SAG will begin negotiations on its features deal with the studios in less than a year; the guild’s current contract expires in June 2011.White previously was the guild’s general counsel from 2002-06, before becoming managing principal of Los Angeles-based Entertainment Strategies Group. He was a labor and employment attorney at O’Melveny & Myers prior to joining SAG.

Kenneth M. Scott, Advanced Broadcast Solutions’ director of broadcast engineering, has been named chair of the Pacific/Northwest section for the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE).


Soupy Sales, 83, died Thursday (Oct. 22) at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx, reported the LA Times.  The comedian, perhaps best-known for throwing pies, is survived by his wife of 29 years, Trudy Carson Sales; sons Tony and Hunt from a previous marriage; a brother; and four grandchildren.

Former U.S. Rep Jay Johnson, 66, a longtime TV news anchor, died Saturday, Oct. 17, at his suburban Washington, D.C., home of an apparent heart attack, reports the Green Bay Press Gazette. Johnson was a broadcast journalist for most of his career, starting as an information specialist for the U.S. Army from 1966-68. He went on to be news anchor for stations in West Palm Beach, Fla., and Lansing and Grand Rapids, Mich., and a radio reporter for stations in Fort Wayne, Ind., and Miami. He also was a disc jockey/announcer in San Antonio, Texas, and in Ironwood and Marquette, Mich. Johnson worked as an anchor at Liberty Media’s CBS affiliate WFRV Green Bay from 1980-86 and at LIN’s Fox affiliate WLUK from 1987 until his election to Congress in 1996. That seat was short-lived: Johnson was unseated by Rep. Mark Green in 1998. In 2000, President Bill Clinton appointed Johnson director of the U.S. Mint, where he served two years. Most recently, he ran Jay Johnson Coins & Consulting. Johnson is survived by his wife, JoLee.

Daniel Melnick, 77, the producer behind such films as Straw Dogs, Network, Roxanne and Midnight Express, passed away at his home in Los Angeles, reports the LA Times. Melnick’s son, Peter, says Melnick died Tuesday, Oct. 13, of multiple ailments, including lung cancer. Melnick had been head of production at MGM and Columbia, where he helped develop Kramer vs. Kramer and The China Syndrome. Melnick also produced the 1960s spy-spoof television series Get Smart. Melnick is survived by his son, Peter, his daughter, Gabrielle Wilkerson-Melnick, and two grandchildren.

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.