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Herzog to Bolt USA for Comedy Central

In the first major executive move since the announcement of NBC's impending acquisition of Vivendi Universal Entertainment, Universal-owned USA Network president Doug Herzog will head back to Comedy Central to replace retiring president and CEO Larry Divney.

An announcement is expected as early as next week, sources close to Universal and Comedy said.

A Comedy spokesman confirmed Divney’s impending retirement, which is expected to be finalized this summer. The spokesman, however, would not confirm Herzog’s move to the MTV Networks-owned service.

A Universal Television spokesman would not comment on the matter.

Herzog headed Comedy from 1995-98 and was responsible for launching such shows as South Park and The Daily Show.

After a brief and somewhat tenuous stint at Fox Broadcasting Co., Herzog joined USA in 2001, where he oversaw the launch of such successful shows as Monk, Dead Zone and, most recently, the critically acclaimed Traffic.

Herzog’s future status at USA was brought into question, however, after NBC’s purchase last fall of Universal Television, which also included cable networks Sci Fi Channel and Trio.

Divney, who took over Comedy after Herzog’s departure, has launched several series hits to complement South Park, including Reno 911!, Crank Yankers and The Chappelle Show.

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.