News Briefs: Shakeups in Works at MTV Networks

Dec 19, 2005  •  Post A Comment

MTV Networks is considering making changes in the top sales management for its music channels. Ron Furman was named senior VP of ad sales for MTV, MTV2, mtvU and MTV.com eight months ago. Sources said Mr. Furman might be given different responsibilities at Viacom. An MTV spokesperson said the company does not comment on the status of its employees, and Mr. Furman did not return calls. Separately, MTV Networks last Thursday fired about 100 employees in its music group and strategic services unit at levels up to VP, sources said. The move was part of an effort to reshape the organization to handle more multiplatform activity, the sources said. A company spokesman had no comment.

The WB Goes With ‘ER,’ ‘Rules’ for Afternoons

As part of its new off-network afternoon programming block, The WB will rerun the veteran Warner Bros. Television medical drama “ER” and televise a double run of the Buena Vista Television family comedy “8 Simple Rules,” starting Jan. 2. “ER,” which will air Mondays through Fridays at 3 p.m. (ET), and the double run of “Rules,” which will air at 4 p.m., replace the network’s afterschool kids animation programming. In fall 2006 “Rules” will be replaced by Twentieth Television’s “Reba” in the 4 p.m. hour. The network has not announced what programming will fill the 3 p.m. slot next fall.

Follo to Leave Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia

James Follo, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia’s chief financial officer, said last Friday that he will leave the company in March. Mr. Follo will be replaced on an interim basis by Howard Hochhauser, currently VP of finance and investor relations. Mr. Follo offered no reason for his planned departure other than to say he wanted to “explore the next stage of my professional career.”

NATPE Announces 2006 Board Nominees

The National Association of Television Program Executives last week announced the nominees to the 2006 NATPE board. They are Michael Camacho, an agent at Creative Artists Agency; Cecile Frot-Coutaz, CEO of FremantleMedia North America; Lucy Hood, president of Fox Mobile Entertainment; Roma Khanna, senior VP for content, Chum Television; Bruce David Klein, president and executive producer, Atlas Media; Ibra Morales, president of Telemundo Group; Marc Schacher, VP for programming and development for Tribune Broadcasting; and Andrea Wong, executive VP for alternative programming, specials and late-night, ABC Entertainment. The nominations are pending formal ratification from NATPE’s voting membership.

HBO Reaches Agreement With Cingular

HBO struck a deal last week with Cingular Wireless to offer content to a new high-speed data service being offered by the cellular phone provider. The premium channel is making available select episodes, scene clips and bonus material from several HBO series, cartoons and never-before-seen comedy and sports programming. Two branded services, HBO Mobile and HBO Family Mobile, are part of a broader plan by Cingular to join other cellular providers in offering customers video content for mobile phones.

Deal Announced to Change Kids TV Rules

TV network representatives and children’s advocates announced a deal last week over changes in the Federal Communications Commission new children’s TV rules. The groups said they would drop pending court challenges to the regulations if the FCC adopted the rule changes proposed. Under the FCC’s new rules as currently written, which are scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1, broadcasters and cable TV operators would be required to count most promotional announcements, including those for Web site addresses within children’s shows, toward the agency’s commercial limits for children’s TV programming. Another provision would have banned display of the addresses of Web sites that use a character for the program to pitch products and services. ‘In a joint statement the networks and ‘advocates said that under their new deal, the ban on the display of the addresses of Web sites that use a character from the program to pitch products and services would be eased. In addition, promotions within children’s TV programs would not be counted toward the commercial limits.