Swanson Named President of Fox Stations Group

Oct 6, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Rumors came true Thursday when Fox Television Stations CEO Jack Abernethy announced that Dennis Swanson, who had been Viacom stations group executive VP and chief operating officer since August 2002, will become president of station operations of the 35-station Fox group effective Monday.

The news of Mr. Swanson’s hiring caps a week in which a couple of key personnel moves were made in the Fox stations group.

First, Sharri Berg, who has worked for Roger Ailes, chairman of Fox News and Fox Television Stations since the beginnings of Fox News Channel in 1995, was named senior VP of news operations for the Fox stations.

Then Lew Leone, who was a key executive for Mr. Swanson at WNBC-TV and at Viacom-owned WCBS-TV in New York, was named VP and general manager of Fox’s New York duopoly, WNYW-TV and WWOR-TV.

Mr. Leone’s hiring was taken as a sign that Mr. Swanson himself would be leaving the Viacom group, which recently was put under the command of Tom Kane, the ex-WABC-TV general manager who headed sales for the Viacom group.

Mr. Swanson is a broadcast veteran of station and network operations. While he ran ABC-owned WLS-TV in Chicago, he gave Oprah Winfrey her first daytime talk show. He joined ABC, where he was sports president and for several years simultaneously was president of the network’s daytime and children’s operation. He was general manager of WNBC-TV before joining Viacom’s.

There was no word Thursday on replacements for Mr. Swanson and Mr. Leone on the Viacom stations front.