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Hot List 2006: A Look Back

Jul 15, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Here’s a quick summary of what the members of TelevisionWeek’s 2006 Hot List have been up to in the past year:
As chief of the Federal Communications Commission’s Office of Strategic Planning & Policy Analysis, Catherine Bohigian continues to have Chairman Kevin Martin’s ear. She has advised him on some of the agency’s most pressing issues of the past year, from the proposed implementation of an Emergency Alert System order for broadcasters and cable and satellite service providers to the ongoing debate over what constitutes an indecency violation. Ms. Bohigian was on maternity leave in June after welcoming her third child with husband David Bohigian, an assistant secretary at the Department of Commerce.
Mediaedge:cia senior partner and director of emerging communications Mike Bologna utilized campaign tracking and media planning technology from Atlas to help create a video-on-demand ad campaign for Paramount Pictures’ “Jackass 2,” part of an overall venture between MTV Networks and Sunflower Broadband. The campaign allowed for the freshest possible ads to be inserted into the cable operator’s Comedy Central on Demand programming at the moment a consumer selected a show to watch — a capability that is widely seen as critical to the profitability of VOD.
After scoring a major coup for Warner Bros.’ Telepictures Productions by championing the launch of the scoop-happy celebrity gossip Web site TMZ.com, Brett Bouttier was promoted in May to the newly created post of senior VP of digital for Warner Bros. Television Group. He’s now in charge of domestic digital content distribution and the expansion of new-media business. He and wife Sheila Rosenbaum Bouttier, senior VP of programming and development at Telepictures, welcomed a daughter in April.
ABC.com’s user-friendly video player won an Emmy Award in August, a sign that Albert Cheng, executive VP of digital media for Disney-ABC Television Group, had the right idea about what consumers want from their online viewing experience. The Web site, which offers full-length episodes of the network’s top series, also boasts an advertiser-friendly average viewer age of 28. Mr. Cheng largely credits the continued success of ABC’s digital offerings to exclusivity; the network’s content is available only on ABC.com and local affiliates’ Web sites, as well as for $1.99 per episode via Apple’s iTunes Music Store.
While 2006-07 wasn’t exactly a banner year for any network as far as freshman comedies were concerned, ABC scored both a critical success and a ratings hit with “Ugly Betty,” which was eagerly renewed in March. Coming off a season in which viewers failed to connect with most of the network’s lighthearted fare, however, Samie Kim Falvey, senior VP of comedy development, settled on four of the 13 pilots ordered up for 2007-08: “Miss/Guided” from “The Office” writer Caroline Williams, the commuter comedy “Carpoolers,” the Christina Applegate vehicle “Samantha Be Good” and, one of the most buzzed-about fall shows, the Geico commercial-inspired “Cavemen.”
Seth Green now has 40 episodes of the Adult Swim stop-motion animation series “Robert Chicken” under his belt, not including the 30-minute “Robert Chicken: Star Wars” special, one of the few full-fledged parodies of the film to receive not just George Lucas’ blessing but the filmmaker’s voice as well. The cult favorite has been renewed for a 20-episode third season, premiering Aug. 12. Mr. Green also will be contributing his signature screech to a seventh season of Fox’s “Family Guy” and will reprise his role from the 2003 heist film “The Italian Job” in sequel “The Brazilian Job.”
In his seventh year covering the Bush administration as chief White House correspondent for NBC News, Emmy winner David Gregory continues to report regularly for “NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams” and for MSNBC and MSNBC.com. In the past year he has covered everything from Middle East policy to the midterm elections to the increasingly crowded presidential race to holiday treats. “Coming up, the greatest moments by our ‘Today’ show anchors, including the time that someone ate an entire cookie while on the air,” Mr. Gregory, filling in for “Today’s” Matt Lauer, joked in December after helping guest Martha Stewart bake holiday cookies.
Under Managing Director Jennifer Neal‘s guidance, the Discovery Communications account has become one of PHD’s biggest, with more than 60 people working on all aspects of the network’s media strategy. Ms. Neal has continued to formulate new ways for Discovery to raise brand awareness as it expands its digital presence, leading to a major increase in the network’s online spending. PHD parent Omnicom Media Group was the No. 1 ad organization worldwide in 2006, with revenues of $11.4 billion.
Break.com, which bills itself as a prime destination for “free videos, pictures and comedy for guys” — meaning plenty of accidents, pranks and wannabe daredevil stunts caught on tape — is logging more than 1.3 million daily unique visitors and has had its content show up on MSNBC, CNN, “20/20” and “The Tonight Show.” In the past year, CEO Keith Richman has inked deals with Showtime Networks, NBC Universal Digital Studios, Endemol USA and, most recently, Twisted Pictures, to produce an original online horror film that will be broken down into 30 webisodes.
At 31, Mike Steib is already a new-media business development veteran. Formerly general manager of strategic ventures for NBC Universal, where he founded and managed operations for the National Broadband Co. (NBBC) and the all-digital broadcast network NBC Weather Plus, Mr. Steib joined Google in January as director of TV ads. He oversees the company’s digital system for buying, selling, measuring and delivering ads that bring the advantages of online advertising to television. So far this year, Mr. Steib has focused on building his in-house team and partnering with advertisers, agencies and TV inventory owners.

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