Optican Tapped to Grow Media General Programming

TV station group owner Media General has named Tony Optican head of programming, a newly created post the company says signals an expanded push into original content.

Optican will be based in L.A. and report to Media General senior VP and COO Deb McDermott.

Media General already produces Hollywood Today Live (through its BiteSizeTV), which is airing in two-thirds of Media General TV markets and on several Fox-owned TV stations including big market sticks in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago beginning in the fall.

But Media General is looking to take a bigger bite of the programming space.

Optican was senior VP of scripted programming for FremantleMedia North America before exiting in 2013 to form his own media consultancy and production company.

He will now help build the company's content offerings across multiple platforms.

“Tony has the strategic and creative vision, as well as the deep connections and business acumen to really maximize Media General's full range of content possibilities" said McDermott of the hire. "He has a proven track record of building new content models for multiple genres..."

That track record includes programming posts at MGM Worldwide TV Group, Fox Broadcasting and SyFy.

He will have a large test-bed for that content. Media General either owns or provides services to 71 TV stations in 48 markets that, combined with its digital and mobile delivery, reach 23% of U.S. households.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.