Gannett names Emma Gilding Vice President of Brand Research and Strategy
Gannett Co., Inc. today named Emma Gilding vice president of Brand Research and Strategy. Gilding formerly was president and principle strategist of in:site, a strategic and planning advisory group for Omnicom Group Inc. She will be based in New York and report to Maryam Banikarim, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Gannett. Gilding will be responsible for delivering forward-looking consumer, brand and market insights that will help drive the growth of Gannett’s businesses. She will also work closely with Gannett’s advertising partners to provide key knowledge to help solve their challenges and meet their objectives.
Rovell revolves to ESPN
ESPN has lured sports business reporter Darren Rovell back to the network in a role that will also see him contribute to ABC’s news division. Rovell had been at CNBC since 2006, after having worked for ESPN.com from 2000-06 while also contributing to ESPN programs including “SportsCenter” and “Outside the Lines.” In his new deal, Rovell will be a part of ESPN’s TV, digital and radio operations, as well as ABC’s “Good Morning America,” “World News with Diane Sawyer” and “Nightline.” “While ESPN is known for games and highlights, it is also about helping fans win the battles at the office water cooler or at the kitchen table,” Rovell said.
London 2012 Chief Roger Mosey To Head BBC Vision; Games Ratings Continue Highs
BBC Olympics chief Roger Mosey has been named acting director of BBC Vision, the group’s in-house commissioning department. Mosey will replace George Entwistle who becomes BBC director general in September. Outgoing BBC director general Mark Thompson informed staff of the appointment in an email this morning. Mosey is currently director London 2012, but will not oversee the Paralympics later this month as he’ll take up his new post on Aug 20. BBC Sport’s head of major events, Dave Gordon, is stepping in as director, London 2012.
AMC Entertainment Loses Top Hollywood Connections In Pre-Acquisition Shake-Up
Word is that the re-structuring will result in dozens of layoffs — in the field as well as at AMC’s new headquarters on the Kansas side of Kansas City. But the company says that it will lose two longtime execs with the closest ties to Hollywood: Film Programming President Sonny Gourley (a 37-year AMC vet) and film buyer Dave Hull (40 years). Many of their responsibilities will be taken on by Elizabeth Frank, who is being promoted to Chief Content and Programming Officer from SVP for Strategy where she managed AMC’s relationships with IMAX and National CineMedia, among other things.
Durk Barnhill Named CEO of Saatchi, New York
In its first change at the top since 2004, the flagship New York office of Saatchi & Saatchi is replacing Mary Baglivo as CEO, and moving Durk Barnhill — an exec who’s spent time at several Interpublic Group shops as well as Mother and Taxi — into the role. Ms. Baglivo is staying within the Publicis Groupe-owned network and is moving to the role of chairman-CEO of Latin America and multicultural. In a statement, Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide CEO Kevin Roberts said the plan is being instated to accelerate the agency’s growth in the Americas.
SeaChange Sales EVP Goldfarb Departs
SeaChange International, a provider of video-on-demand and advertising solutions, said executive vice president of worldwide sales and services Ira Goldfarb will leave the company effective Friday to “pursue other interests.” Goldfarb, an 18-year veteran of the company, recently informed SeaChange that he wanted to pursue other interests, spokeswoman Tammy Snook said. “We think highly of Ira and recognize his contributions both to SeaChange and the industry,” SeaChange CEO Raghu Rau said in a statement.
NAHJ Elects New Board Members
The National Association of Hispanic Journalists announced new leadership at the quadrennial Unity conference on Friday. Hugo Balta, a coordinating producer at ESPN, was elected president of the organization. Balta has held previous leadership roles at MSNBC and at New York stations WNBC, WNJU, and WCBS. Mekahlo Medina, a reporter at KNBC, was elected VP of broadcast.
DEG Elects New Board & Officers
The LA-based Digital Entertainment Group marked its 16th year as the home entertainment industry’s leading association with the announcement of its new Board of Directors and Officers. They serve as the Steering Committee for the 2012-13 fiscal year (August 1 – July 31). New to the Board are Bill Sondheim of Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment, John Taylor of LG Electronics USA, Mike Lucas of Sony Electronics, and Michael Paull of Sony Music Entertainment. New to the Steering Committee is Steve Beeks of Lionsgate, who is the group’s CFO.
ANTOINETTE ALFONSO ZEL
El Rey Network Names CEO (Antoinette Zel)
Hispanic-themed entertainment service El Rey Network Monday named former Telemundo executive Antoinette Alfonso Zel as its new CEO. Zel, formerly senior executive vice president for Network Strategy at Spanish-language service Telemundo Network, will oversee operations for the upstart network, which is expected to launch in fourth quarter 2013. El Rey Network, founded by filmmaker Robert Rodriguez, is one of four multicultural networks supported by Comcast under the merger conditions that allowed it to assume control of NBCUniversal.
Reena Singh Joins USA As VP Scripted
Reena Singh, VP of development and current programming for Universal Cable Prods, is moving to sister network USA where she will serve as VP, original scripted programming. Singh will be a member of a four-person scripted team reporting to EVP original scripted programming Bill McGoldrick, alongside SVP original scripted programming Alex Sepiol, VP original scripted programming Michael Sluchan, VP comedy development Melanie Frankel and manager development Jed Valdecantos. In her new position, Singh will be responsible for overseeing the production of original series Covert Affairs and Fairly Legal.
AMC Networks Ups Communications Execs
AMC Networks has promoted three executives in its Corporate Communications department. Georgia Juvelis has been elevated from VP to SVP, Corporate Communications, and Lisa Rogen and Jaime Saberito have been promoted from directors to VP of Corporate Communications. Juvelis, who joined the company in 2008, oversees all business and trade media relations for the company and its brands, including AMC, IFC, Sundance Channel, WE tv, AMC/Sundance Channel Global and IFC Films. In this role, she acts as chief company spokesperson and manages the Corporate Communications department, which includes Rogen and Saberito.
Imax Corp. Hires Former Paramount Exec to Spearhead EMEA Expansion
Canada’s large screen exhibition player Imax Corp. has hired former Paramount Pictures International exec David King to be the company’s director, film distribution and marketing. Europe , Middle East and Africa. King joins his former Paramount Pictures International boss Andrew Cripps at Imax. King will tasked with the distribution and marketing of Imax DMR content throughout its network in EMEA, liaising with the Company’s exhibition and studio partners as well as identifying fresh international distribution opportunities.
WNET, parent company of New York’s public television stations THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV named Samantha Green as Controller. Samantha will have oversight of WNET’s entire financial planning and daily accounting operations encompassing general accounting, accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll and grants administration. Samantha will further make financial reports to the Board and the board committees in charge of Finance, Audit and Investments. She will report to Caroline Croen, VP/CFO and Treasurer. Samantha succeeds Frank Pesce who will continue to report to Caroline Croen as an advisor.
Zodiak Rights, the international unit of Zodiak Media elevated Glen Hansen to SVP/Sales, Acquisitions and Co-production North America up from SVP/Acquisitions and Business Development, North America. Glen will now have expanded duties over all US and English-speaking Canada finished program and format sales from the Zodiak Rights’ catalog containing more than 15,000 hours of content. Glen will continue to be based out of Zodiak USA’s office in Santa Monica LA and will report to Jane Millichip, Managing Director, Zodiak Rights based in London.
The Inspiration Networks
The Inspiration Networks tagged Jeff Arthur to the new role as VP/Distribution and Affiliate Sales. Jeff will head the development and management of new and current relationships with cable providers to expand distribution and increase brand awareness for INSP, Halogen TV and La Familia Cosmovision.
Longtime WWL Sports Director Signs On with Crosstown Rival WVUE
Jim Henderson, the longtime radio voice of the New Orleans Saints who retired from his sports director post at WWL earler this year after 34 years with the CBS-affiliate, has signed on with Fox-affiliate WVUE as a football analyst. Henderson signed off from WWL in January, planning to continue as the Saints play-by-play announcer on WWL-AM. Now, his semi-retirement will include regular appearances on WVUE during the NFL season.
Robert LePlae Tapped for Global Post at Arnold
Nearly a year after departing Interpublic Group of Cos.’ McCann, Robert LePlae is headed to Havas’ Arnold, where he’ll be responsible for furthering the agency’s global expansion plans. Starting in mid-September, Mr. LePlae will serve in the new post of global president, reporting to Arnold Global CEO and Chief Strategy Officer of Havas Creative Andrew Benett. Said Mr. Benett in a statement: “The addition of Robert will bring increased focus and support for our growth initiatives as well as help maximize and advance our international expansion.”
Paramount Re-Ups Fake Empire’s Josh Schwartz And Stephanie Savage
Paramount Pictures has re-upped Fake Empire partners Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage to a first look feature deal that keeps them at the studio through 2014. The duo has been at the studio since 2010. Deal comes as the shingle’s first Paramount film, the Schwartz-directed Fun Size, hits theaters October 26, 2012. The film is based on the Black List script by Max Werner about a teen (Victoria Justice) who loses her oddball little brother on Halloween and has one desperate night to track him down. Savage and Schwartz produced with Anonymous Content.
Sarah Kustok joins the YES Network as its Brooklyn Nets Reporter where she will cover the team for YES’ Nets game telecasts and pre- and post-game shows, its Nets Magazine series, other Nets programming and via YESNetwork.com. Sarah will also appear on YES in other capacities in the studio and on remote locations.
Universal chief Ron Meyer will move up before moving out
Universal Studios President Ron Meyer will be headed upstairs to parent company NBCUniversal before his time in Hollywood is done. The longtime head of the Universal movie studio and theme parks has a provision in his contract, signed in June 2011, stipulating that at some point in the next year or two he will move into an advisory role working with NBCUniversal Chief Executive Steve Burke, according to two knowledgeable people not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. While it’s not clear when Meyer will make the switch, it’s expected to happen well before his current contract term ends in 2015.
SHARON TAL YGUADO
Fox International Channels’ Sharon Tal Yguado Upped to EVP
Fox International Channels, News Corporation’s international pay television unit, has promoted Sharon Tal Yguado to EVP of Scripted Programming and Original Development. In this role, Tal Yguado, most recently SVP of Scripted Programming, adds oversight of FIC’s original development to her existing responsibilities as head of FIC’s global development group.
Beacon Theatre Exec Heads West to Run L.A.’s Forum
Nick Spampanato, GM of the historic Beacon Theatre in New York since 2009, is moving back across the country to oversee the Forum in Inglewood, Calif., for the arena’s new owner, MSG Entertainment. Spampanato served as the GM of two fabled Los Angeles facilities, the Hollywood Palladium and the Wiltern, in 2008 and 2009, respectively. Before that, he managed backstage operations for the Gibson Amphitheatre (formerly known as the Universal Amphitheatre) from 1992-2006.
Chris Meledandri’s Illumination Names Natalie Fischer COO
Illumination Entertainment CEO Chris Meledandri has named Natalie Fischer to be the company’s first Chief Operating Officer. The move was made as the company’s creative output continues to grow from one film every two years to one film per year. The move gives Meledandri the opportunity to focus on the creative and production side with Janet Healy, who’s based in Paris and who oversees production on all the films. Fischer had been Illumination’s Head Of Business Development after moving over in 2009 from Universal, where she had been senior vice president, Business Development and Strategy.
Demand Media announces new president and breaks even for the first time
Demand Media announced the appointment of a new president to replace Charles Hilliard, who stepped down in June, and reported stronger than expected Q2 earnings this afternoon. Michael Blend, who had overseen the company’s content and media services, has been promoted to president and COO and will now oversee the domain registration services as well. “Michael’s leadership will be instrumental as we continue to build upon our successful growth in content and media, as well as embark on a new era of internet domain expansion,” said chairman and CEO Richard Rosenblatt, to whom Blend will report.
Market Research Expert Bruce Friend Jumps to Vision Critical
Bruce Friend, former president of market research company Ipsos OTX Media CT, has joined research solutions firm Vision Critical as President of its Media and Entertainment Division, TheWrap has learned. He will oversee this relatively new division, working to build an office in Los Angeles and deepen the company’s ties with Hollywood. Friend left Ipsos, one of the major players in market research for tinsel town, in June.
Hollywood Top Dealmaker Larry Ulman Retires from Gibson Dunn
Larry Ulman, the Hollywood dealmaking guru who helped usher in billions of dollars from Wall Street in major slate financing deals, has left Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, where he served as co-chair of the law firm’s entertainment, media and technology practices. Officially, Ulman has “retired,” but the 62-year-old attorney has no plans to take it easy. Instead, he’s actively at work in being the principal behind his yet-to-be-announced entertainment company.
Duluth’s Fox 21 news director resigns over Facebook flap
The news director for Duluth television station Fox 21 resigned Monday after objections to what was called a racist Facebook post he made last week. Fox 21 general manager Jackie Bruenjes issued a statement Monday night saying she accepted Jason Vincent’s resignation. “Jason has elected to take a new job assignment,” she said. Attempts by the News Tribune to reach Vincent and Bruenjes were unsuccessful. It wasn’t clear whether Vincent resigned from his position or if he also left the company, Red River Broadcast Co., based in Fargo, N.D.
L.A. Times Names Michael J. Tannourji New Advertising Executive
The Los Angeles Times Media Group named Michael J. Tannourji executive vice president of advertising, the company announced Tuesday. The former director of business development for the Ernst & Young accounting firm will try to revive the Tribune Company-owned media group’s revenue stream amid financial challenges to print advertising and circulation at the Los Angeles Times and its Spanish-language publication Hoy.
Circle Of Confusion Merges With Steve Dontanville And Frank Frattaroli’s D/F
In a merger where each side brings a lot to the table, D/F Management principals Steve Dontanville and Frank Frattaroli have joined forces with Circle of Confusion to create a full-service management and production company. It matches Circle of Confusion’s writer and director clients with D/F’s acting roster and the partners will use that to grow the production business in films and TV. The new entity will operate under the Circle of Confusion banner. The consolidation leaves them with offices in Los Angeles and New York, and a strong roster that each company brings to the mix.
LISSA FRASER KERR
Big Coat Productions
Toronto-based Big Coat Productions hired Lissa Fraser Kerr as Head/Production and Development to supervise the company’s development slate and the production of series, pilots and documentaries. Prior to this appointment, Lissa was a Production Executive at Corus Entertainment and was Director/Producer for such series as Colour Confidential, Sarah’s House, Property Virgins and Take This House and Sell It among others.
Global Pursuit Co.
Worldwide consumer products licensing marketing and brand equity company, Global Pursuit Co. Ltd. added Amanda Wang as Head/Licensing in China. Amanda’s post is effective immediately where she will oversee licensing and marketing duties in China.
Clyde Phillips Inks New Deal With Lionsgate TV, Talks About Rebooting ‘Nurse Jackie’
Clyde Phillips has signed a new two-year overall deal with Lionsgate Television. Phillips recently joined Lionsgate’s dark comedy Nurse Jackie, and his duties as executive producer/showrunner on the Showtime series will fall under his new pact with Lionsgate, which also covers development. Phillips was already talking to Lionsgate about renewing his overall deal when the opportunity to take over Nurse Jackie came up when original showrunners Linda Wallem and Liz Brixius stepped down. “All the stars aligned,” Phillips said.
RAMON ESCOBAR JOINS CNN WORLDWIDE AS VICE PRESIDENT, TALENT RECRUITMENT AND DEVELOPMENT Ramon Escobar joins CNN Worldwide as vice president of talent recruitment and development, and Lizzie Kerner joins CNN as director of development, it was announced by Amy Entelis, senior vice president, talent and content development for CNN Worldwide. Escobar most recently held executive posts at Telemundo, and Kerner joins from Sundance Channel. “Ramon brings with him a depth of news experience on both the domestic and international fronts in network, cable and local television. From his work at major media outlets that include Telemundo and MSNBC, Ramon has demonstrated his strength at overseeing programming and developing top-notch talent,” said Entelis, to whom he will report. Kerner will be based in Los Angeles and will report to Vinnie Malhotra, senior vice president of development and acquisitions. “Lizzie has a keen eye for great storytelling and experience in developing quality programming, having honed her skills at Sundance Channel,” said Malhotra.
Zynga COO Resigns After Duties Are Stripped
Zynga COO John Schappert has left Zynga six days after getting his game development oversight duties stripped. Schappert joined the San Francisco-based tech company 16 months ago after spending nine years with Electronic Arts. “John has made significant contributions to the games industry throughout his career and we appreciate all that he has done for [us],” said Zynga chief exec Mark Pincus in a statement emailed to Fortune. The move reflects Pincus’ desire to get his five-year-old firm focused on mobile, as last month Zynga reportedly restructured teams, integrating mobile with Web development units. Schappert’s departure also comes on the heels of the company’s disappointing second quarter earnings report. Zynga and Pincus have come under increased Wall Street scrutiny in recent weeks. It didn’t help matters when it became known that he dumped his company stock months ago, before its price plummeted to $3 a share.
Benninghoff Named WWSB Sarasota GM
Jeff Benninghoff has been named vice president and general manager of WWSB Sarasota, an ABC affiliate owned by Calkins Media. Benninghoff previously worked at the station, as controller and then station manager, from 1998 to 2008. He has since been vice president of finance for Calkins Media. He will report directly to CEO Mark G. Contreras. “Jeff has the perfect combination of skills to lead ABC 7 into our digital future,” said Contreras. “He has an impressive track record of accomplishments in broadcasting and has been with the company for nearly 20 years. His optimism, energy and forward-looking approach will serve us well as we continue to evolve our business models.” Benninghoff began his career with Calkins Newspapers in 1993 at The Intelligencer in Doylestown.
Head/Entertainment Formats at Remarkable Television, an Endemol company, Tom Blakeson is taking on a new position at Remedy Productions, part of the Argonon group. Beginning in September, Tom will become CCO with responsibility to head Remedy’s continued development into interactive game show formats.
Boenish Named President of VividTV
Adult entertainment company Vivid Entertainment has tapped former New Frontier Media executive Ken Boenish as the president of its new VividTV division. Boenish, formerly president of New Frontier Media — which owns adult pay-per-view channels Penthouse TV, The Erotic Networks, VaVoom, Juicy and XTSY – will take over the new VividTV adult-themed VOD and pay TV service, which is expected to launch later this month. Vivid reports that it already has deals for VividTV with two major distributors serving more than 20 million homes. “Vivid has what is undeniably the most notable and well-recognized brand in the business and the content to back it up,” Boenish said in a statement. “The studio is the most award-winning producer this industry has ever seen and I look forward to using my experience to enhance adult entertainment offerings for TV platform operators in the US and around the world.”
Editorial Page Promotion at The Times
Terry Tang, whose 15-year career at The New York Times has included stints on the metropolitan, business and editorial desks and also involved building its online presence, has been named deputy editorial page editor. Andrew Rosenthal, The Times’s editorial page editor, announced the promotion on Wednesday. He said that Ms. Tang was ideal for the job because of her experiences in editing, editorial writing and promoting editorial coverage online. Mr. Rosenthal added that he was confident Ms. Tang would help update the editorial pages and “bring the editorial board into the Internet era.” He added: “Having someone like Terry who knows as much about editorial writing and editing and is good at it and has such a good sense of the Internet seemed like a great combination for me.”
Cablevision Hires Lake as SVP Branding, Creative
Cablevision Systems Corp. has hired Matt Lake, a familiar agency executive as senior vice president of branding and creative. In his new job, Lake, who joins the cable company from The Brooklyn Brothers shop, whose client roster included the New York metro area’s top distributor, will oversee the development and creative execution of Cablevision’s brand and marketing strategies, supporting its full suite of advanced digital Optimum-branded products and services. Lake is charged with helping to create and refine a new brand identity for Optimum, including extant product marketing development, and the formulation and implementation of new campaigns and integrated marketing efforts, backing new products and enhancements for the MSO’s residential and commercial customers. Lake reports to Kristin Dolan, Cablevision’s senior executive vice president of product management and marketing.
New Regency President of Production Exits After 8 Months
Carla Hacken, who joined New Regency as president of production eight months ago from Fox 2000, is abruptly exiting the company. New Regency president Brad Weston issued an internal memo informing staff of Hacken’s departure. “I am writing to let you know that Carla Hacken, our president of production, is leaving the company effective this week,” Weston wrote. “A search is underway for a new president of production to lead our very strong team, and we look forward to updating you as we approach a decision.” Hacken’s surprise exit comes as New Regency’s Arnon Milchan and Weston continue to tweak their executive ranks, including bringing in widely respected studio executive Valerie Van Galder to run marketing earlier this month. The company also has hired Tim Clawson has executive vp and head of physical production.
Random House Enterprises
Former VP/International Consumer Products at Discovery Communications, Jo Edwards has been appointed as Random House Enterprises’ (RHE) first Head/Licensing. RHE is a new dedicated unit of The Random House Group and its goal is to seek out multi-platform business opportunities. Jo will report to Nigel Waters, Group Commercial Director, The Random House Group.
REX HUMBARD III
GMC TV elevated Rex Humbard III to SVP/Production and Network Operations up from VP/Production and Operations and Kevin Wagner was promoted to SVP/Creative Services up from VP/Creative Services. Rex has been with the network since 2005 joining originally as Director/Network Operations and Kevin joined GMC TV in 2007 from Turner Broadcasting. Rex and Kevin both report to Leslie Chesloff, EVP/Programming.
LAINEE FIORENTINO HILL
JENN “X” AUTH
Production company, Pilgrim Studios bolstered its post-production department by adding Lainee Fiorentino Hill as VP/Post Production and additionally is upping its long-time post-production executive Jenn “X” Auth to Director/Post Production. Lainee joins from Shed Media where she served as Director/Post Production and Jenn “X” has been with Pilgrim Studios since 1999.
Grant Anderson Named Executive Director of Sony 3D Tech Center
Grant Anderson has been named executive director of the Sony 3D Technology Center located at Sony Pictures Studios. His credits as a stereo supervisor include Beowulf, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and The Green Hornet. He recently served as stereographer on Screen Gems’ Battle of the Year: The Dream Team. The 3D Tech Center, which opened in 2010, consults on 3D productions and provides education. It was previously led by Buzz Hays, who is no longer with Sony. “Grant will continue the 3D Tech Center’s mission to nurture a community of experts in the growing market for 3D entertainment, while expanding collaborations on natively shot 3D productions, conversions and library efforts,” said Chris Cookson, president of Sony Pictures Technologies and chief officer of the center.
Island Def Jam Music Group
Island Def Jam Music Group hired Liza Joseph as VP/A&R Administration, West Coast. Liza will be based at IDJ offices in Santa Monica where she will supervise all administrative duties for the West Coast A&R Department. She reports to Karen Kwak, EVP/Head of A&R, Island Def Jam Music Group.
JWT New York
JWT New York tapped Ben James as an Executive Creative Director where he will support the creative directives set in place by JWT New York’s Co-Chief Creative Officers, Ryan Kutscher and Matt MacDonald. Previously, Ben was with CAA (Creative Artists Agency) as a Creative Director/Marketing Agent.
Remedy Productions, part of the Argonon group added former BBC executive, Suzanne Gilfillan as Executive Editor. In her previous position at BBC for more than 20 years, Suzanne worked with several comedy titles including Have I Got News For You, Mock the Week, Comic Relief, Friday Night with Jonathan Ross and The Graham Norton Show among other programs. At Remedy, Suzanne will report to Juliet Borges, Joint MD and work closely with Creative Director Ted Hill.
Los Angeles Times Names Marc Duvoisin Managing Editor
The Los Angeles Times named Marc Duvoisin managing editor on Thursday, filling the paper’s long-vacant No. 2 editing job. The position had been open since December, when then-managing editor Davan Maharaj took over as the paper’s top editor. Maharaj succeeded Russ Stanton, who later took a job at local radio station KPCC. Duvoisin most recently served as deputy managing editor for projects and enterprise, and he will now oversee the day-to-day operation of the newsroom. “It reflects months of thought about how we position The Times to succeed in the digital era while maintaining the values and traditions of great journalism that brought us here in the first place,” Maharaj said in a memo to staff. “The new managing editor must help us push change even further, while also putting out the world-class newspaper our readers have come to expect. Marc is that person.”