MTVN Looks in-House for Leader

Newly named Viacom Inc. co-president Tom Freston said he is talking with a handful of internal candidates -- basically his circle of top lieutenants at MTV Networks -- as candidates to succeed him as head of the crown jewel cable-network unit.

“I’ve gone to talk to them, and some of them have come to talk to me,” said Freston, who was promoted following Mel Karmazin’s exit from Viacom this past week.

Within the next few weeks, Freston said, he expects to choose his successor as chairman and CEO of MTVN.

The field of candidates includes MTVN group presidents Judy McGrath and Herb Scannell, MTV Networks International president Bill Roedy and MTVN president, chief operating officer and head of ad sales Mark Rosenthal.

Freston also stressed that he doesn’t plan to fold Black Entertainment Television or Showtime Networks Inc. into MTVN. Both fall under Freston’s purview following the changes.

He added that Viacom is keeping an eye peeled for cable acquisitions.

For more on MTV Networks, please see Linda Moss’ and R. Thomas Umstead’s story on page one of Monday’s edition of Multichannel News.