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Executive shake-up unveiled at CBS, Paramount TV

Reuters

Posted: Sep 08, 2004 at 1251 hrs IST

In a major shake-up of its West Coast programming operations, media giant Viacom Inc on Tuesday promoted several CBS executives to new roles at the broadcaster and a newly merged television studio.

The move folds in-house studio CBS Productions into sister company Paramount Network Television with a management team made up of from top lieutenants of Leslie Moonves, the CBS chairman who gained control of Paramount TV when he was named Viacom co-president and co-chief operating officer in May.

His longtime second-in-command at the network, Nancy Tellem, has been named to a newly created position managing both the CBS entertainment division and the newly enlarged Paramount TV studio, which supplies shows for CBS, sister network UPN and a host of other broadcast and cable outlets. She will continue to report to Moonves.

Tellem will be succeeded as president of CBS entertainment by former drama development chief Nina Tassler, who will now oversee all network programming for prime time, late night and daytime shows. She will report to Tellem.

Garry Hart will step down as president of Paramount Network Television, the post he assumed when he joined the company in 1993, and become an independent producer, Viacom said.

He will be replaced by David Stapf, who as head of current programming for CBS played a key role in overseeing such network hits as Everybody Loves Raymond, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Two and a Half Men.

Reporting to Stapf will be former CBS Productions Executive Vice President Maria Crenna, who has been promoted to the same position at the newly combined Paramount TV entity, where she will be in charge of drama and comedy development.

Tellem, Tassler, Stapf and Crenna are all veteran associates of Moonves who followed him to CBS after working for him when he headed Lorimar/Warner Bros. Television during the 1980s and early 1990s.

Paramount, home of the Star Trek series and long-running but recently departed NBC comedy Frasier, currently produces more than a dozen shows for CBS, UPN, ABC, NBC, Fox, HBO and the USA Network but has struggled in recent years to develop new hit sitcoms and dramas.

The reorganization at Paramount Network Television and CBS Productions comes nearly a month after Moonves merged the studios' international operations.

Viacom said the latest move does not affect its syndication divisions at King World or Paramount Domestic Television, or the programming operations at UPN under the leadership of UPN Entertainment President Dawn Ostroff. She will continue to report directly to Moonves, along with King World's Roger King and Paramount Domestic's Joel Berman.

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