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Fates Roundup, Aug. 19, 2014

Megan Alexander has been tapped to serve as special correspondent for CBS Newspath. Besides her duties for CBS Newspath, the 24-hour TV newsgathering service for all of CBS’ stations and broadcasters, Alexander will continue contributing to the television syndicated magazine Inside Edition, for which she has reported on crime, politics, entertainment and the Super Bowl.

Fox affiliate WQRF has tapped Kelly Lattimer as VP and general manager in her hometown of Rockford, Ill. She will start immediately and report to Nexstar’s executive VP and co-COO Tim Busch. Lattimer, who joined the company in 2008 and had been serving as director of sales for Nexstar’s Rockford broadcast and digital operations, will also supervise ABC affiliate WTVO.

The Weather Channel has a new senior VP of live programming, as the network announced Aug. 19 the appointment of Nora Zimmett to the position. Zimmett, previously at CNN, will supervise Weather Channel's 16 hours of live programming a day. Based in Atlanta at the Weather Channel’s headquarters, she will report to its president David Clark.

Ashley Gold Messina is heading east, as WDCW Washington’s VP and general manager has joined KRON San Francisco to be its VP and general manager. She will begin Sept. 10, taking over for Brian Greif, who resigned late last year. Messina originally joined WDCW in 2001 as a local account executive, gradually moving up the ranks to be national sales manager, general sales manager and finally general manager.

CBS said it bought back more than one-third of its debt. On Aug. 19, the day after the offer expired, CBS said it got takers for 37%, or $802,510,000. CBS was looking to get a better rate than 7% or 8%, but many debt holders liked the rate, since notes were not due until 2019, 2023 and 2030.

Fox Hispanic Media has named Juan Vallejo senior VP of ad sales. A VP since 2011, Vallejo supervises Fox’s Spanish cable channels in addition to FHMC Conexiones, a venture involving partnerships, analytics and linear TV.

New Hampshire One News has landed two new hires to the nascent multimedia network. Veteran New England political journalist Kevin Landrigan will serve as chief political correspondent for NH1 News. Paul Steinhauser is leaving his position as political editor at CNN to be NH1’s news anchor and political director. The announcements were made Aug. 18 by Robb Atkinson, news director of NH1.

Don Pardo, the “voice” of Saturday Night Live, died Aug. 18. He was 96. Pardo served as SNL’s announcer for all but one season since the show premiered in 1975. Pardo, who had been pre-recording SNL introductions from his home in Arizona since retiring in 2009, was elected to the TV Academy’s Hall of Fame in 2010.

Raycom Media has upped Ken Reiner to VP of programming, effective Sept. 1. Reiner, currently the corporate director of programming, will remain based out of L.A. He will supervise the budget, content, purchases and scheduling, and report to Susana Schuler, senior VP of content, marketing and programming.

Willinger Talent Agency has announced a number of client placements. Former weekend anchor at WAVY in Norfolk, Va., Anne McNamara is joining E.W. Scripps’ new syndicated show The Now as national host. Stacey Bell, previously an anchor at News 12 Long Island, is a new weekend evening anchor for WNBC in New York. KTVK Phoenix morning anchor Yetta Gibson is also moving to The Now, as host on KNXV in Phoenix. Monique Griego, a report at WJZ in Baltimore, is taking her talents to Phoenix to be KPNX’s Sunday morning anchor/reporter. Stephanie Bertini, a reporter and anchor at KRGV in Texas, has taken a general assignment reporter position at WFTV in Orlando. Evan White, a reporter at WHAM in Rochester, N.Y., is heading east to Hartford, Conn. to be a general assignment reporter. Pepperdine professor Dr. Judy Ho has co-hosted two episodes on Daily Helpline on Fox.

Alexandra MacDowell has been promoted to senior VP of production management for A+E Studios. She will report to Bob DeBitetto, A+E Networks’ president of brand strategy, business development and A+E Studios, who announced the change on Aug. 18. Her new position involves supervising production opportunities for nonfiction programming.

The Weather Company has tapped Ed Kozek as senior VP, product and engineering, WeatherFX. His hiring for the new position will expand the ever-growing WeatherFX division. Based in New York, Kozek will help create and support the data science, engineering and product management teams for WeatherFX business.

The Screen Actors Guild will honor Debbie Reynolds with the 2014 SAG Life Achievement Award, presented each year to an actor who represents the “finest ideals of the acting profession.” Reynolds, the star of Singin’ in the Rain who has been received Oscar, Emmy, Golden Globe and Tony nominations in her illustrious career, will be given the award on Jan. 25 at the 21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Jessie Surovell and Kristan Giordano joined TVGN’s original programming department on Aug. 18. Surovell, formerly at Shed Media US, is the new VP of development, while Giordano, an executive producer for TVGN, is now VP of original programming. They will both be based at the network’s L.A. headquarters and report to Paul Adler, senior VP of original programming and development.

Ed Bernero, who had been serving as showrunner and executive producer of NBC’s upcoming drama State of Affairs, has left the show, citing creative differences. Production will continue despite no replacement showrunners being named yet. State of Affairs was created by Joe Carnahan, who also serves as executive producer.

A court ruling that denied Tribune Media and KTLA’s motion to compel arbitration with Kurt Knutsson has been affirmed by the California Court of Appeal. Knutsson, a technology journalist known as the “CyberGuy,” filed a complaint in February, 2013 against Tribune and KTLA for breaching his contract and misappropriating his likeness and name. He was dismissed in February of 2011 after signing a five-year agreement with KTLA in 2008.

Gannett Broadcasting has elevated Brad Ramsey to VP of sales. Ramsey, the president and GM of Gannett’s Norfolk station WVEC, will report to Dan Lyons,VP of sales strategy and development, when he starts on Sept. 8 at Gannett’s headquarters in Mclean, Va.

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore has filed suit against Al Jazeera in state court in Wilmington, Del. Gore claimed that the Qatar-based media company, which bought his network Current TV for $500 million in 2013, has failed to make payments to him and his partners.

Actor Will Arnett has started his own production company, Electric Avenue, and signed a first-look deal with CBS Television Studios, which currently airs his comedy The Millers. Electric Avenue has hired Jed Weitzman to serve as president and Marc Forman to be director of development.

It comes as no surprise that Rob Manfred will be Major League Baseball’s new commissioner when Bud Selig retires in January. The league’s 30 owners elected Manfred on Aug. 14. The COO of MLB since September, Manfred has been supervising baseball operations, finances, labor relations and many more functions of the Commissioner’s Office.

Chuck Todd will be taking David Gregory’s place as host of Meet the Press on Sept. 7, NBC News president Deborah Turness announced Aug. 14. Andrea Mitchell, who hosted the Sunday current affairs program on Aug. 17, will continue to be an integral part of the show, Turness said. Todd will remain political director for NBC News, but will not be able to keep his other current position as chief White House correspondent and anchor of MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown.

Turner Sports has announced two promotions. Matt Hong will be Turner Sports’ new executive VP and general manager, while Albert "Scooter" Vertino will be its new senior VP of programming as well as NBA Digital’s general manager. Both report directly to Lenny Daniels, president of Turner Sports.

The new chairmen and CEOs of Fox Television Group Gary Newman and Dana Walden have shaken up the executive leadership structure. They selected David Madden, the president of Fox Television Studios, as Fox Broadcasting’s entertainment president, and Joe Earley, former Fox Broadcasting entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly’s top lieutenant, as COO of Fox Television Group.

The Screen Actors Guild Foundation has named Cyd Wilson as its new executive director. The founder and president of Cyd Wilson Entertainment Marketing and creative director of Time Inc.’s Style and Entertainment magazines, Wilson help usher the SAG Foundation into its 30th year.

CBS News has tapped Jill Jackson as senior producer of Face the Nation. A Capitol Hill producer for NCBS News’ Washington bureau since 2007 before joining CBS This Morning last fall, Jackson will help with coverage of the midterm elections.

NewsHour Productions has appointed Mike Rancilio as senior VP and general manager, WETA Washington president Sharon Percy Rockefeller announced Aug. 13. Rancilio, chief revenue officer for MacNeil/Lehrer Production and former publisher of The New Republic, will supervise all of NewsHour Productions’ business in coordination with WETA, one of PBS' anchor producing stations, which has been producing the long-running noncom news show since July 1.

Cherry Yates will take on the new role of VP, corporate communication for Fox International Channels (FIC). Yates, who will continue to serve as VP of global communications for National Geographic Channels International, will help streamline communications strategy both internally and externally for FIC.

The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) has elected Charles L. Dages chairman of the board, the non-profit organization announced Aug. 13. Dages, the former executive VP of emerging technology at Warner Bros., will focus on programming, marketing and sponsorship for NATAS. Former chairman Malachy Wienges will serve as chairman emeritus.

Mary Carole McDonnell is leaving her role as executive VP of Raycom Media in September to focus on Bellum Entertainment, the TV production company she started back in 2005. McDonnell, who supervised all programming at Raycom, will see the debut of two new strips this fall at Bellum.