Heller Departs TBS

Turner Broadcasting System Inc. vice chairman Andrew Heller has left the company, Turner officials confirmed Tuesday.

Heller, who joined TBS in 1998 and was named vice chairman in 2008, quietly departed Turner at the end of March, and is now consulting for MacAndrews & Forbes, a holding company with interests in a diversified portfolio of public and private companies.

No replacement will be named, according to company officials.

During his tenure as vice chairman, Heller focused on launching Turner’s “TV Everywhere” initiative. In a memo to staff obtained by Multichannel News, Heller thanked current and former Turner and Time Warner executives Dick Parsons, Joe Collins, Fred Dressler, Jeff Bewkes and Phil Kent for “giving me the freedom, authority and confidence to move from a staff lawyer to a business man and to help drive this company and this industry to new heights.”

Prior to his most recent position, Heller served as president of domestic distribution for Turner, where he was responsible for negotiating distribution deals for 10 domestic networks to the cable, satellite and telco industries. Previous to that he was assistant general counsel for Time Warner Cable and was actively involved in programming, acquisitions, trades and a variety of cable, contractual, litigation and regulatory issues for the leading MSO.  Earlier, Heller served as associate counsel and senior counsel, litigation, for HBO.

In 2011 Heller was inducted into Broadcasting & Cable’s Hall Of Fame.

“In turning over the reins to a new set of leaders, I look forward to watching them grow and succeed at this company and in this industry,” Heller said in the memo.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.