Fates Roundup, Jan. 13, 2015
Below is a compilation of the latest moves in the industry.
NBC News announced Jan. 13 that Ann Curry is leaving the network. The correspondent, whose stint as Today anchor ended messily two and a half years ago, will establish a new media startup, focusing on producing national and global content with a multi-platform distribution approach, that will be seeded by NBCUniversal.
NewBay Media has named Charlie Weiss publisher of its TV sector brands, including Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and Next TV, effective immediately. Weiss, who previously led NewBay’s pro audio division, reports to Louis Hillelson, VP/Group Publisher of NewBay’s TV brands.
Fullscreen has expanded its business and legal affairs team with a pair of new hires, the global youth media company announced Jan. 13. Rozanna Tesler Fried, previously a senior counsel at Twentieth Century Fox, will serve as VP of business and legal affairs. Suchir Batra, following four years with Greenberg Traurig's entertainment practice group, will serve director of business and legal affairs.
Leftfield Pictures is making changes to its executive team. ITV Studios’ Leftfield Entertainment division has elevated Heath Banks to chief operating officer and hired Joe Weinstock as head of west coast development and Brenna Eckerson as senior director, development.
Elizabeth Matthews has been appointed the new CEO of ASCAP. The music licensing organization's executive VP and general counsel since 2013, Matthews takes over for John LoFrumento. She formerly served as executive VP and deputy general counsel at Viacom Media Networks.
Patti McGettigan has joined Cox Media Group’s WHBQ Memphis as news director. McGettigan, who begins Jan. 16, previously served as news director at WOOD Grand Rapids and WISH Indianapolis. Cox closed on its deal for WHBQ with Fox in October.
Ovation TV announced Jan. 13 a pair of executive advancements. Mike Pons, who had been general manager, business development, at Cox Communications, has joined the content distribution team as senior VP of content distribution, while Scott Woodward has been promoted to head of programming and production.
UP TV has tapped Amy Winter as executive VP and general manager. The former Discovery Communications executive will supervise programming and brand development in addition to responsibilities with regard to digital and social properties, marketing and public relations, and scheduling and acquisitions.
Phil Sharpe has joined Omnigon, the New York digital consulting firm, as its senior VP, client strategy and engagement. Sharpe, who had been with Turner for the past 14 years, most recently as senior VP, digital strategy and competitiveness, will be responsible for development and execution of client strategies.
KCTV-KSMO Kansas City has selected Mike Cukyne to be its new VP and general manager. Cukyne, the senior VP of digital media at Meredith Local Media, will retain his corporate responsibilities in addition to leading the Kansas City stations. Cukyne formerly worked sales for KMOV St. Louis for 15 years.
The new president and general manager of Hearst TV’s WXII Greensboro-Winston Salem will be Michelle Butt. The former WBAL Baltimore news director, Butt takes over for Hank Price, who is moving to WVTM Birmingham. Butt’s previous positions also include a stint as assistant news director at WTAE Pittsburgh.
ABC News has upped Colby Smith to VP of ABC News Digital to help reach new digital platforms and audiences. Colby, who joined ABC news in 2011 and will be working with Disney ABC Television Group senior team, takes over for Joe Ruffolo, who is moving to Burbank.
Broadcast Music, Inc. announced Jan. 12 the appointment of Liz Fischer as VP, corporate communications and marketing, effective immediately. Fischer, who will supervise BMI’s corporate communications and marketing, will be based in New York and report to president and CEO Mike O’Neill.
The last three years have been the most deadly for journalists and media workers since the Committee to Protect Journalists has started keeping track. At least 61 journalists and 11 support staff were killed on the job in 2014, a majority were broadcast journalists and nearly half were in the Middle East.
Amazon and the CW won their first Golden Globe Awards at the Jan. 11 ceremony.Transparent won for best TV series musical or comedy, with lead actor Jeffrey Tambor also winning for his role as a parent who comes out as a transgender woman. Gina Rodriguez took home a trophy for her lead acting performance in Jane the Virgin.
The National Code of Fair Practice for Network Television Broadcasting was ratified, with 96.5% in favor, by SAG-AFTRA members. The three-year agreement, struck Nov. 14 and running through June 30, 2018, brings together the legacy TV contracts with the merged union.
USOC board members selected Boston to be the country’s bid city for the 2024 Summer Olympics. Boston was picked over Washington, D.C., San Francisco and former host Los Angeles. New York and Chicago both recently failed to win the hosting gig for the 2012 and 2016 Games, respectively.
CBS Television Stations has tapped Gerald Griffin as senior VP, business development and strategic partnerships. Formerly a senior VP at ABC Regional Sports & Entertainment Sales, Griffin will be tasked with working with sales teams at the group’s 29 stations.
USA Network announced Jan. 8 that it had named Jessica Sebastian as VP of unscripted series. Sebastian, who had been serving as VP of development at Electus, will lead the network’s unscripted development in addition to current unscripted series.
The Media Financial Management Association announced its “People to Watch” on Jan. 8. The trio are Deborah Donaldson, VP and corporate controller, Bonten Media Group; Jasmin Dorismond, VP and corporate controller for Lotus Media’s Radio Station Group; and Neal Kirsch, COO and CFO for OWN.
Discovery Channel has welcomed John Goldwyn to the network as an executive producer to help increase scripted programming. Goldwyn formerly served as executive producer on the Shine America-produced Fox drama Gracepoint. Discovery had recently hired former Shine CEO Rich Ross as president. The network also announced Jan. 8 that it had appointed John Hoffman executive VP of documentaries and specials, effective immediately.
Sony Pictures Television announced Jan. 7 the hiring of Mark Young as senior VP of distribution, UK, Africa and Ireland. The London-based Young, who will be tasked with managing and increasing distribution across these regions, reports to Mike Wald, executive VP, international distribution.
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By Jens Koerner