News Briefs

Nov 24, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Mitchell Stern, who has been chairman and CEO of Fox Television Stations Group for a decade, will run DirecTV when News Corp.’s acquisition is completed in the next few weeks, News Corp. announced Friday. Lachlan Murdoch, the News Corp. deputy chief operating officer, will assume more day-to-day control of the 35-station group. News Corp. hopes to complete the $6.6 billion purchase of a controlling 34 percent stake in DirecTV parent Hughes Corp. by year-end. The Federal Communications Commission last week announced it had restarted the shot clock on its review of the acquisition, clearing the way for final agency action within 30 days. Meanwhile, Roxanne Austin, current president and CEO of DirecTV, said she will resign once News Corp. completes the acquisition. She was appointed to her posts in June 2001.
Kane to Join Viacom
Tom Kane, who for seven years ran WABC-TV in New York, was named president of Viacom Television Stations spot sales. He will report to Julio Marenghi, president of sales for the 39-station group. The hire-which was as unexpected as Mr. Kane’s exit in mid-October from the ABC family with which he had spent 28 years-was made by Viacom group President-CEO Fred Reynolds and Executive VP and Chief Operating Officer Dennis Swanson.
Vargas to Anchor `World News’ Sundays
Elizabeth Vargas is now the permanent anchor of ABC News’ “World News Tonight Sunday.” Ms. Vargas succeeds Carole Simpson, whose 15 years in the chair ended in late October, when she was named an “ambassador” for ABC News in classrooms. In her new assignment, Ms. Vargas is expected to continue as a substitute anchor for Peter Jennings on weeknight “World News” and on “Good Morning America,” as a co-anchor of “PrimeTime Monday” and as a correspondent for ABC’s newsmagazines.
Larry Tisch Dies at 80
Lawrence “Larry” Tisch, who saved CBS Inc. from hostile takeover only to be hated for mismanaging the network, died Nov. 15 from complications of gastric cancer. He was 80. Mr. Tisch and his brother, Preston Tisch, made billions in real estate, turning an investment in a run-down resort in New Jersey into a takeover of the Loews Corp. In 1986, when CBS was faltering and many corporate raiders, including Ted Turner and Sen. Jesse Helms, made runs at the network, CBS turned to Loews Corp. to save it. Mr. Tisch assumed the chairman-CEO position, backed by CBS founder William Paley. The 10 years that Mr. Tisch ran CBS were rocky for the network. Many criticized Mr. Tisch for his spartan cost-cutting methods and lack of investment in the future. Mr. Tisch sold CBS in 1995 to Westinghouse, which in turn sold the network to Viacom in 1999. Mr. Tisch was active in many charities. He is survived by his brother; his wife, Wilma; his four sons; and 15 grandchildren.
TV One Added to Some Basic Cable Packages
TV One, the new channel partly owned by Comcast and targeting African American adults, will be added to the operator’s basic channel package in major markets comprising 2.2 million subscribers in Atlanta, Detroit and Flint, Mich., as well as Comcast’s entire Atlantic division.
America Channel Expands Analog Carriage
The America Channel has agreed to terms with Block Communications’ Buckeye Cablevision for expanded basic analog carriage of the new network on systems in Toledo and Sandusky, Ohio, reaching 150,000 subscribers. The America Channel, a cable network focused on nonfiction stories about real people, will premiere on the Buckeye systems in 2004, under terms of the agreement.