A&E Television Networks said last Thursday it restructured its ad sales operation, creating three separate teams. Peter Olsen has joined the company to head the team that will sell History Channel and its digital offshoots History International and The History Channel en espa ‘ol. Brian Granath will head the team responsible for A&E and Biography Channel and Robert Edney will spearhead a team specializing in new business development and new media. The three teams will report to Mel Berning, executive VP of ad sales for A&E Television Networks. AETN also named Michael Peretz VP of integrated ad sales and strategic partnerships.
MSNBC to Launch 2 Entertainment Shows
MSNBC last week announced the addition of two hour-long entertainment shows to its weekend lineup starting Feb. 5 and 6. Sharon Tay, who is leaving KTLA-TV in Los Angeles, will host both shows, and Claudia DiFolco, who has worked for Fox-owned KTTV and KCOP-TV, will report from L.A. “MSNBC at the Movies” is described as in-depth look at the movie industry. “MSNBC Entertainment Hot List” will cover movie premieres, DVD releases, television, theater, fashion, music, electronics, travel and celebrities.
Legislation Would Help Telcos Offer Cable Service
In a major favor for the telephone industry, Reps. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., and Rick Boucher, D-Va., last week introduced legislation that industry sources said will clear the way for phone companies to offer cable TV services as part of integrated Internet protocol-based service packages of voice, video and data-without the need for franchises from local governmental authorities.
Former FX Executive Webster Gets Probation
Former FX public relations executive Randolph Steven Webster was sentenced last week to three years of probation and ordered to pay $22,607 in restitution to his former employer. Mr. Webster had pleaded no contest to felony wiretapping this year after having listened in to company conferences of his former employer (TelevisionWeek, Dec. 13, 2004). Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Jeff McGrath had recommended a two-year prison sentence, but Judge Norman Shapiro opted for a lesser punishment. The prosecution had also requested that Mr. Webster be required to undergo a 90-day psychiatric evaluation in the event that probation was granted, a request Judge Shapiro also rejected. Mr. Webster, Mr. McGrath and FX parent company News Corp. declined comment. Mr. Webster’s defense attorney David Scheper said he was satisfied with the ruling. “It was a probation case. And we are pleased that Judge Shapiro agreed,” Mr. Scheper said.
Disney Executives’ 2004 Pay Rises Over 2003
The Walt Disney Co. CEO Michael Eisner took home about $1 million more in remuneration in fiscal 2004 than he did the previous year, according to the media giant’s proxy statement filed last week with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Mr. Eisner earned $8.31 million in total remuneration for the 12 months ended Sept. 30, compared with a year-earlier figure of $7.32 million. Although his base salary held steady at $1 million, Mr. Eisner in fiscal year 2004 received a cash bonus of $7.25 million-something he did not receive in the previous year, when he got a $6.25 million bonus in the form of stock units. Meanwhile, Disney President and Chief Operating Officer Robert Iger pulled in nearly $12 million in fiscal 2004, largely driven by a one-time performance-based stock payout of more than $3.4 million and a cash bonus of $6.5 million. A year earlier, Mr. Iger’s take-home pay was $6.39 million. Separately, the company’s board of directors last week voted to make permanent the separation between the CEO and chairman titles.
`Real World’ Franchises Get Pickups on MTV
MTV and Bunim-Murray Productions announced last week an agreement to pick up five more seasons of “The Real World” and two additional seasons of “The Real World/Road Rules Challenge.” They are scheduled to air through 2008 and 2006, respectively. The agreement will carry “The Real World” through its 20th season.