Steve Sohmer, ABC's executive vice president of marketing, advertising and promotion, abruptly and quietly resigned two weeks ago.
Considered by some to be a TV marketing and promotions guru, he had been at the network only since September. He signed a short-term contract at the beginning of the TV season and moved to ABC from a similar position at Pax TV. The network gave no reason for his departure, but he left five months before his contract was due to expire.
He launched ABC's fall lineup, including break-out hit 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter, starring John Ritter, and sitcoms Life With Bonnie, Less Than Perfect
and George Lopez. ABC had a surprise second-place finish in the November sweeps but dropped to fourth in February after Fox came on strong with reality shows Joe Millionaire
and American Idol. ABC also has dedicated much of its schedule to reality programming, which could be frustrating to an old-school TV promoter like Sohmer.
Sohmer joined Pax TV in 1998 and helped launch the network and create its brand.
He gained a good measure of his fame in the 1980s, when he launched The Cosby Show, Cheers, Family Ties, Miami Vice
and The A-Team
and helped put NBC in first place from third. He did the same thing for CBS with such shows as Dallas, The Dukes of Hazzard, Magnum PI
and Knots Landing. He also launched The Ricki Lake Show
for Columbia Pictures Television, now Sony, and was president of Columbia Pictures, releasing feature films La Bamba, White Nights
and Stand by Me.
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Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.