Briefly Noted

Sep 16, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Wade named Freedom president
Doreen Wade has been named president of Freedom Broadcasting, which owns eight network affiliates. Ms. Wade has been VP and general manager of WPEC-TV, Freedom’s CBS affiliate in West Palm Beach, Fla., since 1999.
Mr. Wade, who first joined Freedom to sell advertising for WLNE-TV in Providence, R.I., in 1978, has run three stations for the company: WLNE, WRGB-TV in Albany, N.Y., and WPEC.
“This will be the fourth time I’ve promoted Doreen Wade. This fourth time is to succeed me as the TV division president as I move into my new role in the parent company,” said Alan Bell, newly named president and CEO of Freedom Communications.
Ms. Wade will name a new station manager for WPEC, but she will continue to call the Palm Beach area home, while making trips to Freedom’s headquarters as needed.
Deushane to run Granite group
John Deushane will become chief operating officer of Granite Broadcasting’s eight-affiliate station group in January. Mr. Deushane, an 11-year Granite veteran and the group’s Midwest regional VP, will succeed Bob Selwyn, who will become full-time “senior operating adviser to the board of directors” and will continue to be a member of the board.
Mr. Deushane was general manager of Granite’s WEEK-TV in Peoria, Ill., and general manager of KSEE-TV in Fresno, Calif., before being assigned regional duties.
The drama of sports has a new goal line
ESPN is looking to produce its first-ever scripted dramatic series, with a mid-summer 2003 debut targeted. The weekly one-hour sports-themed program will be produced by ESPN Original Entertainment and will be launched with a two-hour pilot episode that will be followed by 10 one-hour shows airing on Tuesday nights. Beyond that, the network is “discussing concepts with many talented producers and writers,” Mark Shapiro, ESPN senior VP and general manager, programming, said in a statement.
Mr. Shapiro told Electronic Media that he had “over 20” scripts currently in hand, with pitches coming in from writers, producers and actors, and that they included such subjects as “what its like to be on the inside of an NFL team during the season, what its like to be on the inside of a minor league baseball team, the ins and outs of high school football.”
The general plan for a dramatic scripted series is part of an ESPN push into new genres and formats, including original movies, reality-based shows, documentaries and game shows, all appealing to younger and casual sports fans.
Fox and Yahoo! in promo deal
Fox Entertainment Group and Yahoo!, the Internet portal, will include initiatives for Fox Broadcasting and FX in a newly announced extension of their online promotional relationship.
Fox television shows that will get the Yahoo! promo push include “The Bernie Mac Show” and “24,” both returning series, and new series “Fastlane,” “Firefly” and “John Doe.” FX shows getting the promo push include “The Shield,” returning for its second season, and “The Pentagon Papers,” a fact-based original cable movie starring James Spader and Alan Arkin, set for a Dec. 15 debut.
Upcoming Fox theatricals in the promo mix include “Daredevil,” “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen,” “Solaris” and “X-Men 2.”
As part of the deal, Fox and FX will provide Yahoo! with exclusive video material from the various Fox series and films.
New management team for AOL division
Jon Miller will take a more hands-on role as chairman and CEO of America Online, and Ted Leonsis, the division’s vice chair and an AOL veteran, will be second in command, overseeing operations, it was announced last week. Joseph Ripp, the chief financial officer, moves into the vice chairman slot, overseeing network infrastructure and technology operations. Mike Kelly, former chief financial officer of AOL Time Warner, moves from America Online chief operating officer to head AOL International. Radio veteran James de Castro, president of AOL Interactive Services, will be part of a senior strategy council that includes Mr. Miller, Mr. Ripp, Mr. Leonsis and Don Logan, chairman of AOL Time Warner’s media and communications group.
The new team will focus on taking AOL’s content and services to the next level. Following other former America Online executives who have left in the wake of accounting probes, Jan Brandt, former vice chair and chief marketing officer, steps down but remains a part-time advisor.