MTV Reorganizes After Folding in Comedy Central

Jun 2, 2003  •  Post A Comment

With Comedy Central now officially under the Viacom tent, the MTV Networks group has reorganized, expanding the roles of both Judy McGrath and Herb Scannell and changing the reporting structure so that Larry Divney, president of the all-laughs cable network, reports directly to Ms. McGrath.

“Judy’s a great leader of … unconventional organizations,” Tom Freston, chairman and CEO of MTV Networks, told TelevisionWeek. “Larry’s an unconventional guy, Judy’s an unconventional gal and we’re going to have some unconventional fun in a very conventional way.”

Ms. McGrath, formerly president of MTV Networks Music Group, will become MTV Networks group president, responsible for MTV, MTV2, VH1, CMT and Comedy Central.

Mr. Scannell, formerly president, Nickelodeon, TV Land and TNN, will become MTV Networks group president, responsible for Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite, TV Land, Noggin and TNN, which is on the verge of rebranding as Spike TV.

Ms. McGrath and Mr. Scannell report to Mr. Freston, chairman and CEO of MTV Networks, and the early expectation had been that Mr. Divney would report directly to Mr. Freston, his friend and colleague of more than two decades.

Mr. Freston said the new reporting structure makes more sense in a company the size and breadth of Viacom. With all of Viacom’s domestic cable networks now reporting to either Mr. Scannell or Ms. McGrath, the question was, “Do we create a third group with just Comedy Central or do we put Comedy Central into one of the existing groups?” Mr. Freston said. “If we had put it directly under me, it wasn’t as if I was going to have a lot of time to spend on it.”

In addition to managing their respective networks, Ms. McGrath and Mr. Scannell also will be part of a newly established MTV Networks Management Committee. Also on that committee are Mr. Freston; Mark Rosenthal, president and chief operating officer of MTV Networks; and Bill Roedy, president, MTV Networks International.

Viacom was previously a half-owner of Comedy Central with AOL Time Warner.