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Jun 7, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Vinciquerra named Fox Networks Group CEO

Fox Television Network President Tony Vinciquerra has been promoted to president and CEO of the Fox Networks Group, which gives him oversight of more than 30 major domestic cable and satellite networks owned by News Corp., in addition to oversight of the business operations side of the Fox network.

Mr. Vinciquerra, a well-regarded Hearst-Argyle Television executive and former CBS Television stations group executive before moving West for the Fox Television job at the end of 2001, will report to News Corp. President and Chief Operating Officer Peter Chernin.

His expanded job incorporates turf once occupied by Fox Television Chairman Brian Mulligan, who left in late 2001, and Jeff Shell, who left his position as president and CEO of Fox Cable Networks Group in April to run embattled Gemstar-TV Guide International.

Sources familiar with the situation expect no reorganization on the cable or broadcast side with the move. Fox News Channel Chairman Roger Ailes is expected to continue to report to Mr. Chernin and News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch, and Fox Television Stations Chairman and CEO Mitch Stern will continue to report to News Corp. Deputy COO Lachlan Murdoch.

Ware leaving UPN: Adam Ware, chief operating officer of UPN since February 1999, announced today his departure from the company, effective immediately. Mr. Ware extended his agreement in February 2002 to assist with the integration of the network’s operations into CBS.

Network TV sources say Mr. Ware is currently studying several future employment options. Topping the rumor mill is Mr. Ware reportedly considering a senior-level position within billionaire Paul Allen’s Vulcan Ventures, which owns Tech TV (formerly ZDTV) and other cable network holdings. Additionally, Mr. Ware is said to have held talks about a potential executive-level position within Barry Diller’s Universal Television/Vivendi studio group.

Mr. Ware declined to confirm or deny any of the speculation on his future options, other than saying he was looking forward to taking his “first-ever break” between jobs, which is also being marked with the impending birth of his first child.

At UPN, Mr. Ware was responsible for operating the company’s affiliate relations, business affairs, finance, marketing, research and sales departments. He came to UPN from USA Networks, where he had served as executive vice president since 1996. Prior to that, Mr. Ware spent more than five years at Fox Broadcasting Co., rising to the position of senior vice president of network distribution. He began his career with Petry Television in Los Angeles.

Lieberman working on series of broadband-related bills: Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., a possible presidential contender in 2004, is weighing in heavily on broadband issues with a series of bills over the coming months. This week, he introduced a measure that requires the White House to issue a report to Congress on creation of a national broadband strategy. Other bills will require the Federal Communications Commission to develop broadband regulations, propose tax credits to spur deployment and encourage research and development. The senator’s focus on broadband should help position him as technology-savvy should he run for the White House. And it will likely increase campaign contributions from cable and phone companies seeking to protect their business interests.

Buck in charge of casting at Warner Bros. TV: Mary Buck, an award-winning, independent casting director for over 20 years, has been hired as senior vice president of casting for Warner Bros. Television, in an appointment announced by WBTV President Peter Roth. Ms. Buck replaces Barbara Miller who recently retired.

Ms. Buck had been a partner with Susan Edelman in Buck/Edelman Casting, where helped cast 46 pilot series, 59 telefilms and nine miniseries for just over two decades. “Susan and I have ended our partnership on excellent terms. It was truly an amazing ride,” Ms. Buck said in a prepared statement. “After all of these years as an independent, I am very excited to try out the ‘other side’ at Warner Bros. Television.”

For her work at Buck/Edelman, Ms. Buck received 16 Artios Award nominations from the Casting Society of America, winning for “The Wonder Years,” “Malcolm in the Middle” (pilot), “The Oblongs,” “My Life With Judy Garland” and “Other Mothers.” She has received two Emmy Awards nominations. Her most recent projects include ABC’s “George Lopez” sitcom and Fox’s revival of the drama development project,” Time Tunnel.”

From 1999 to 2002, Ms. Buck also served as president of the Casting Society of America.

New Vision Group buys KSBY-TV: SJL of California sold NBC affiliate KSBY-TV, San Luis Obispo, to Atlanta-based New Vision Group. The actual transfer of the license is scheduled for late summer after approval from the Federal Communications Commission.

Redstone, Karmazin taking future one day at a time: Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone told attendees at a Sanford Bernstein investors conference in New York late Thursday that he and CBS President Mel Karmazin are “getting along better than we ever have.” Mr. Redstone also said that he and Mr. Karmazin have agreed not to discuss the future of the companies until year’s end.

Mr. Redstone stated that his daughter, Shari Redstone, a member of the Viacom board, has no designs on becoming chief executive officer and that his family does not want to create a nepotistic “dynasty,” should Mr. Karmazin leave at the end of his contract next year. Mr. Redstone said he believes in “professional management” of the company.

Leifer takes over laughs at ABC: After shepherding a slate of four new comedies for next season, Stephanie Leifer has been promoted to vice president of comedy series for ABC Entertainment. Filling in as the interim head of comedy since the resignation of Julie Glucksman last January, Ms. Leifer has officially taken over development and production of all comedy pilots as part of a beefing up of the programming ranks by ABC Entertainment President Susan Lyne.

As the interim head of comedy, Ms. Leifer oversaw the development and 2002-03 season pickups of a handful of sitcoms, including “8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter,” “Life With Bonnie,” “Less Than Perfect” and the mid-season entry “My Second Chance.”

Previously, Ms. Leifer was named vice president of comedy programming for ABC in July 1999. She was responsible for the development of new comedy programming that included “According to Jim,” “The Job” and “George Lopez,” while overseeing such current series as “The Drew Carey Show.” Prior to that, she had been executive director of ABC comedy series programming since July 1998.

Ms. Liefer joined ABC in January 1994 as an assistant to the vice president of movies and miniseries. In September 1994, she became assistant to the vice president of current series and was promoted to manager of current series in August 1995. In July 1996, she was promoted to director of drama series, where she was involved in the development of new drama programming and oversaw both drama and comedy series. In September 1997, she was named director of comedy series programming. Prior to joining ABC, Ms. Leifer was a literary assistant at Writers and Artists Agency. She began her career as a production associate at WGBH-TV in Boston, Massachusetts.

(c) Copyright 2002 by Crain Communications