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Fates Roundup, April 7, 2015

Below is a compilation of the latest moves in the industry.

Jonathan Murray, the cofounder of Bunim/Murray, is leaving his post as CEO to segue into a producer role. Parent company Banijay Group made the announcement April 7. BMP, which helped usher in the reality craze two decades ago, will be led by Gil Goldschein, who was elevated to CEO and chairman.

Tim Bennett has been appointed VP and station manager of CBS-owned WUPA Atlanta and director of sales, southeast region for CBS’ national spot sales office in Atlanta. Bennett, who has been sales manager of national spot sales in Atlanta since 2004, succeeds Jack Walsh, who resigned due to a health issue.

Law firm Perkins Coie has added Marc Martin to its Washington office as chair of its media and telecommunications sector. Martin, a former partner in the K&L Gates telecom, media technology practice, was previously at BET and the FCC. Brendan Fowler also joined Perkins Coie as a senior counsel in the communications practice.

Grace Joyal has joined ABC Columbia News as its new weekend anchor. Joyal, who had been an anchor, reporter and producer at Oregon’s KTVZ NewsChannel 21, starts at the South Carolina ABC station on May 26.

The Jim Henson Company announced staff changes April 7. Casie Friedman was upped to senior director, global distribution, sales. Amy Takahara, previously at FremantleMedia Kids and Family Entertainment, was hired as the new director, global distribution, sales. Katie Mullins, who joined the company in February 2014, was elevated to coordinator, global distribution.

Lifetime is partnering with the upcoming Bentonville Film Festival. It announced the distribution partnership April 7. The Arkansas festival, chaired by actress Geena Davis, will run May 5-9. Lifetime will offer a broadcast deal to one of the winners in addition to a development deal to a winning script or treatment.

The 2015 winners of the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation’s Service to America awards have been announced. iHeartMedia won the President’s Special Award for extraordinary achievement for a veterans aid program. Gannett’s KING-TV Seattle won the Service to Television award.

Bryan Fails is joining Technical Innovation’s Broadcast Solutions Group. Fails, who was part of Scripps Networks launch team, will lead strategic TI BSG projects scheduled to launch over the next few months and beyond. The company made the announcement April 7.

CNN has announced promotions for a pair of morning show executive producers. Nima Ahmed, who started at CNN/HLN almost 10 years ago, is the new director of programming. Bryan Bell, a CNN employee for more than 15 years, will serve as the new weekend programming manager.

Atlanta-based video content delivery and analytics technologies supplier Concurrent has chosen Clay McCreery to be its senior VP of worldwide sales. McCreery, a former executive at Arris, reports to another former Arris exec, Concurrent CEO and president Derek Elder.

Viacom is taking a $785 million charge against earnings this quarter as a result of its reorganization but will see annual cost savings of about $350 million. The company, whose restructuring comes after a company-wide review of operations, said it will pause buying back its own stock.

Beginning May 1, Chanelle Hardy will serve as chief of staff and media legal advisor to FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn. Hardy, who had been senior VP for policy at the National Urban League and director of its Washington bureau, succeeds Adonis Hoffman, who left to start a global think tank.

Media General has chosen Julio Marenghi to be its chief revenue officer of broadcast operations, effective immediately. Marenghi, previously the president of ad sales at Tribune Broadcasting, will oversee development and execution of ad sales plans for Media General’s 71 TV stations in 48 markets.

Denver-based next-generation cable operator Layer3 TV has named Lindsay Gardner as the full-time chief content officer. Gardner, formerly at Cox Communications and Fox Networks, had been chairman of Layer3 TV’s content advisory board since last fall.

James Best, known for playing Sheriff Rosco Coltrane on The Dukes of Hazzard TV series, died on April 6 from complications of pneumonia. He was 88. The Kentucky-born actor, who began in Hollywood in the 1950s, reprised his role as Coltrane in a string of TV movies as well as a short-lived animated version of the show.

2C Creative & Content has appointed Tim Hamilton as senior VP, development. Hamilton, who previously worked at the production company, has been VP of development at Tremendous! Entertainment in L.A., with credits creating and producing series for VH1, A+E, TLC, Animal Planet, Travel Channel and more.

Advanced Systems Group has hired Jody Boatwright as VP for managed services. Boatwright, who spent the last eight years at Thresher Communications & Productivity, is tasked with assembling and leading the on-site teams.

Digital publishing and software services provider LAKANA announced April 7 two hirings and two promotions. Todd Carter and Charles Im have been upped to head of operations and head of technology, respectively. Reed Varner joins as VP, agency services, while Lisa Bishop will serve as VP of product strategy.

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers has tapped Alice Kim as executive VP and chief strategy and development officer. ASCAP has been establishing new partnerships and services for today’s age of digital music. Kim will report to CEO Elizabeth Matthews.

David Zaslav received $156.1 million in total compensation as Discovery CEO in 2014, according to documents filed with the SEC April 3. He received $94.6 million in stock awards in $50.6 million in option awards. He agreed to a new 10-year employment deal in January.

The NAB will honor Bud Paxson, the home shopping pioneer and station group and network owner who died in January at 79, with the Spirit of Broadcasting award. The award, which recognizes general excellence and leadership, will be given out at the NAB show in Las Vegas April 13.

Following its merger with Journal Broadcast Group, Scripps has made some corporate changes. Former Journal executive VP Debbie Turner is now Scripps’ VP of TV operations. Ed Fernandez and Steve Wasserman are VP and divisional general managers, in Detroit and West Palm Beach, respectively. Three others have been upped to VP and GM: Lyn Plantinga at WTVF Nashville, Mike Murri at WXYZ-WMYD and Lloyd Bucher at WPTV.

Sesame Workshop announced three new hires and a promotion April 2. Steve Youngwood joins as COO, Brown Johnson joins as executive VP and creative director and Joseph Salvo joins as executive VP and general counsel. Sherrie Westin will assume the new role of executive VP of global impact and philanthropy.

The National Association of Broadcasters has elected six members to its TV board ahead of its annual convention later this month in Las Vegas. Michael Fiorile, John Kueneke, Pat LaPlatney, Perry Sook and Jordan Wertlieb were reelected to two-year terms. Bonneville International’s Darrell Brown is new to the board.

The 74th annual Peabody Awards, to be held for the first time as an evening gala, will be hosted by Portlandia star Fred Armisen. The ceremony, which will be held May 31 in New York, will be televised as a 90-minute special in primetime on Pivot.

KYW-WPSG Philadelphia has tapped Brien Kennedy as president and general manager of the CBS Television Stations-owned CBS-CW duopoly. Kennedy, who had been serving as WCCO Minneapolis’ VP and general manager since 2010, take over for Jon Hitchcock, who depart for the GM role at WTIC-WCCT Hartford.

CenturyLink has elevated John Jones to senior VP of public policy and government relations. Jones, who has been with the company for more than 20 years, most recently serving as VP of public policy and federal legislative affairs, takes over for the retiring Steve Davis.

Satellite service provider Intelsat S.A. announced April 1 two promotions. Kurt Riegelman, formerly senior VP, global sales, will take the lead on product management and marketing functions as the new senior VP, sales and marketing. Michael J. DeMarco, who has been with Intelsat since 2000, will be senior VP, operations.

National Geographic Channels International announced April 1 that it had welcomed production executive Simon Young to its global content hub. Simon, who has experience for UK, U.S. and international programming, will work on various series and films across National Geographic Channel as commissioning executive producer.

Entertainment Studios, Inc. has tapped Gene Cunningham as senior VP of research, effective immediately. Cunningham, who began his career as a research analyst at Blair Television in New York and more recently spent 13 years as VP and director of research for FOX Stations Sales, will lead Entertainment Studios’ research operations across all platforms.

AMC president Charlie Collier is adding SundanceTV to his purview as president and general manager of the AMC cable network. Sarah Barnett, the former chief at SundanceTV, will move to sister network BBC America after AMC Networks acquired a controlling stake.

WSYR Syracuse VP and general manager Theresa Underwood has been appointed senior VP and regional manager at Nexstar. Underwood, who has spent 22 years at WSYR, will oversee the group’s station in the Northeast and report to cochief operating officer Tim Busch.

Thirteen executives have been promoted at Starcom, MediaVest and Spark. Brent Lux has been upped to executive VP, managing director, product and growth, Spark; Pat O’Connor to executive VP, chief financial officer, Starcom; Anne Elkins to executive VP, MediaVest; LisaAnn Rocha to executive VP, managing director, SMG PM; Joel Yeomans to senior VP, video investment, Spark; Rosemary Miller to senior VP, director, Starcom; Doug Rothery to senior VP, director, Starcom; Bob Salomone to senior VP, director, SMG; Lindsay Lichtenberg to senior VP, director, SMG; Kim Thompson to senior VP, MediaVest; Danielle Cherry to senior VP, MediaVest; Abby Cooper to senior VP, MediaVest; Joseph Rose to senior VP, MediaVest.

The National Association of Broadcasters will recognize James F. Goodmon Jr. with the first-ever Digital Leadership Award. Goodmon, VP and general manager of Capitol Broadcasting’s New Media Group, a pioneer in HDTV, mobile broadband and streaming TV, will receive the award at the NAB convention April 15.

ITV Studios America has increased its non-scripted development team, announcing April 1 the hiring of Hildie Katibah as director of development for the West Coast office and the promotion of Noah Korn to director of development in the East Coast office. Executive VP creative strategy Bruce Robertson leads both coasts’ teams.

Washington law firm Wiley Rein has cut down on staff, eliminating nearly 50 positions including partners and support staff. The individuals leaving the firm were not identified. The firm’s communications practice, which is not supposed to be impacted by the cuts, has populated the FCC with top staffers, commissioners and chairmen.