Meidel moves in at Paramount

Former Universal TV chief Greg Meidel was officially sworn in as the top programming executive at Paramount Domestic Television Monday, a move which coincided with Frank Kelly exiting his post Friday as the company's co-president.

As its president of programming, Meidel will report directly to Joel Berman, who previously shared the top spot with Kelly and will now serve as the sole president of Paramount Domestic Television. The move is a reunion for Meidel and Berman - both worked their way up through the company's sales division, with Meidel becoming its general sales manager in 1992.

In other updates, sources say Bobbee Gabelmann, Paramount's executive vice president of current programming, will remain in her position at least through next year, when her contract is up for renewal.

Meidel, who most recently worked as partner of digital security firm Massive Media Group, will now oversee the production and development of all of Paramount's first-run series, including Entertainment Tonight and upcoming dating show Rendez-View. Meanwhile, Kelly sought to spin his suden departure, after entering a 3-year production/development deal with Paramount, crafting product for syndication, cable and broadcast networks as "not a bad thing" and said he "has been wanting to do this." With the August deadline on his contract as co-president nearing, "it was a natural time for me to sit and talk about something like this." Besides creating new content, Kelly will also serve as executive producer of Judge Joe Brown and the Entertainment Tonight franchise.

Kelly also insisted the executive shuffling "was completely unrelated" to last year's merger of Paramount parent Viacom with CBS. If that were true, he said, the shakeup "would have happened a year ago."
- Susanne Ault