The Insider

Dec 22, 2003  •  Post A Comment

If you’re among those who’ve been trying to get a line on the most likely successors to Mitch Stern as chairman and CEO of Fox’s 35-station group and Twentieth Television, relax. If you’ve assumed News Corp. Deputy Chief Operating Officer Lachlan Murdoch would be hot to find a replacement for Mr. Stern after Mr. Stern moves into his new role as president and CEO of DirecTV, snap out of it. Sources tell The Insider that Mr. Murdoch is quite looking forward to this next arc in his ongoing learning curve and plans to be the stations’ everyday go-to guy for some months.
When it’s time to hand off direct control of the Fox-owned stations group, there’s a good chance it will be to be an insider, and the names of Fox station Operations President Tom Herwitz and Fox stations Sales President Jim Burke will be floated early. But sources expect Twentieth Television President and COO Bob Cook to continue to report to the Murdoch family’s funkiest-haired apparent-if faithful readers will forgive a relative-ly bad pun.
Pam Stevens is the new assistant press secretary and TV liaison at the White House.
Ms. Stevens, 43, and her mother worked for the Reagan and first Bush administrations. Her first TV job was as a booker for “America’s Talking,” a role she later would reprise on “Larry King Live” and “Late Edition With Wolf Blitzer” on CNN, which she left last January to take a public affairs job for Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson.
She had been expected to coordinate network bookings at the Republican presidential nominating convention in New York next summer, but she got the call from the White House about the post. She and hubby Eric Schulz, who is on the legislative affairs team for Education Secretary Rod Paige, are the parents of two young children.
The Insider heard nothing but praise for Ms. Stevens inside the Beltway.
The same cannot be said about her enormously combative predecessor, Adam Levine, whose presumed next employer, Goldman Sachs, had not confirmed by deadline that he is headed for a big-bucks position with the investment banking and securities firm’s D.C. office. As one source put it, Mr. Levine “had a little problem with the volume control” and tended not to know “when to stop making his point.”
Erin Sermeus is trading her position as spokesperson for CNN’s “Larry King Live” for one as political producer on the show, an opening created when Margita Thompson was named press secretary for “Caleeefornia” Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last month.
CNN has been auditioning potential Sermeus successors: Must be willing to live on West Coast and be as peripatetic as Larry King.