In Depth

Tribune, WMAQ-TV Appoint Broadcast Executives

By Lynne Marek
Crain’s Chicago Business

Tribune Co. and WMAQ-TV/Channel 5 each named new broadcast executives Tuesday, with Tribune appointing a Warner Bros. executive to lead WGN America and a new studio that will produce original content.

Chicago-based Tribune said it tapped Matt Cherniss to serve as president and general manager of WGN America and the new Los Angeles-based studio. WMAQ-TV, the NBC Universal-owned Channel 5 station in Chicago, selected David Doebler as president and general manger to succeed Larry Wert, who left NBC recently to become president of local broadcasting at Tribune.

Mr. Cherniss, 40, most recently senior vice president of production at Warner Bros., will oversee strategy and day-to-day operations for both Tribune units, including development of content for WGN America and the company's 23 local TV outlets, the print and broadcast media conglomerate said. The new unit, based in Los Angeles, will be called Tribune Studios.

The appointment comes as the company builds its new management team under CEO Peter Liguori after it exited bankruptcy at the end of last year.

Mr. Cherniss will report to Mr. Liguori and "transition into his new roles during the next several weeks as the company expands its West Coast presence," Tribune said in the release.

Mr. Cherniss joined Warner Bros. in 2011, overseeing productions such as the upcoming comedy movie "Mail Order Groom," starring Steve Carell and Tina Fey. Before joining Warner Bros., he was executive vice president of programming for Fox Broadcasting Co., where his responsibilities included overseeing Fox's drama, comedy and animated development. In that post, he shepherded the development of shows such as "Glee," "Raising Hope" and "Bob's Burgers."

Mr. Doebler, 51, who will assume his new WMAQ post immediately, was most recently president and general manager of NBC Connecticut station WVIT-TV, NBC Universal said in a news release. Before working for NBC Connecticut, Doebler was president and general manager at WVTM-TV, the NBC station in Birmingham, Ala. He is a native of Philadelphia.

Tribune also appointed Julio Marenghi, who has headed WGN America since 2009, president of broadcast media sales, responsible for overseeing all aspects of advertising sales for the company's 23 local TV stations and WGN Radio in Chicago, Tribune said in the release. He will report to Mr. Wert.

No executives are exiting Tribune in conjunction with its appointments, Tribune spokesman Gary Weitman said.