Cable Operators

BEST OF MULTICHANNEL.COM: PEOPLE AND PROGRAMMERS

5/09/2011 12:01 AM Eastern

Comcast Co-Founder Julian Brodsky Retiring

PHILADELPHIA Comcast co-founder Julian Brodsky, who along with Ralph
Roberts
and Daniel Aaron formed
what would become the largest cable
operator in the nation more than four
decades ago, will officially retire from
its board of directors at the MSO’s
annual meeting of shareholders on
May 11.

Brodsky, who started as Comcast’s
chief financial officer and is regarded
as one of the industry’s foremost fi-
nancial engineers, stepped back his
participation in the day-to-day operations
of the company several years
ago. Now serving mostly in an advisory
role, Brodsky has decided to make his
separation complete.

The 77-year-old Brodsky joined Comcast
in 1964 and helped co-founders
Ralph Roberts and Daniel Aaron negotiate
the acquisition of their first cable
system, a 1,200-subscriber operation
in Tupelo, Miss. Today, Comcast is the
largest cable operator in the country, with 22.8 million customers. Earlier this
year the cable giant closed on the $30 billion NBC Universal joint venture, giving
it a controlling interest in the cable and broadcast programmer.

Brodsky will serve as a director emeritus at Comcast for one year after his
retirement from the board. Brodsky joined Comcast’s board of directors in
1969 and has served as non-executive chairman of the company since 1964.

The longtime cable executive is a member of the Cable Center Hall of Fame
and the Broadband Cable Association of Pennsylvania Hall of Fame, and
has received the National Cable & Telecommunications Association’s Distinguished
Vanguard Award. In addition, he is a director of Amdocs, RBB Fund
and the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society; a trustee and vice chairman of
the Philadelphia Museum of Art; and a director emeritus of The Cable Center.

Judy McGrath Ankles as MTVN CEO

NEW YORK Judy McGrath, one of the true architects of MTV, is stepping down
as chairman and CEO of MTV Networks, positions she has held since 2004.

MTVN parent Viacom said a successor would not be named.
With McGrath’s exit, the programmer’s
operating units will
be headed by MTVN Entertainment
president Doug Herzog,
MTVN Music & Logo Group
president Van Toffler, and
Nickelodeon & MTVN Kids &
Family Group president Cyma
Zarghami. They will report directly
to Viacom president and
CEO Phillipe Dauman.

McGrath, who started her
career with the company as
a copywriter for MTV in 1981
after working at Condé Nast
publications, was president of
the youth-culture and music
network from 1994-2002. In
her more recent role, she had
oversight for such notable
brands as MTV, Nickelodeon,
Comedy Central, TV Land,
VH1, CMT and Spike. Among
the programs she has championed
are Nickelodeon’s worldwide
“Let’s Just Play,” mtvU’s
“Darfur Is Dying,” MTV’s Peabody
Award-winning “Choose or Lose” and Emmy award-winning “Fight for Your
Rights” campaigns, and the “Hope For Haiti” telethon.

“I leave with pride, joy and gratitude for the ride of a lifetime,” she said,
in part, in a statement. “I especially thank my friends and colleagues on the
senior team, who will continue to lead a kick-ass organization. They have my
respect and affection, always.”

Comcast Expands Rollout of Africa Channel

PHILADELPHIA Comcast will expand its rollout of The Africa Channel to
seven additional markets representing 2 million subscribers as the MSO
continues to add more diverse programming to its channel lineups.

The independently owned network, which provides a broad range of Englishlanguage
programming from Africa, will expand its distribution on Comcast’s
Xfinity TV lineup in Comcast’s Detroit, Chicago and Washington, D.C., markets
by the end of July, network officials said. The channel also will launch in
Comcast’s Northern Santa Barbara County, Calif.; Savannah, Ga.; Charleston,
S.C.; and South Florida systems by the end of the year.

Overall, Africa Channel will add 2 million additional viewers from the Comcast
launches, the network said.

The Africa Channel deal follows a similar Comcast distribution expansion
agreement with Asian-themed network Mnet two months ago, part of its mandate
to launch several minority-targeted networks related to its merger deal
with NBC Universal.

Christina Norman Exits as OWN CEO

SILVER SPRING, MD. OWN: the Oprah Winfrey Network CEO Christina Norman
is leaving the Discovery Communications and Harpo Inc.-owned network as
it transitions to a long-term business and creative strategy, the network said
Friday. Discovery Communications chief operating officer Peter Liguori was
named interim CEO of the network.

OWN launched Jan. 1 amidst much fanfare but has struggled to post strong
ratings returns. Winfrey said in a statement: “I want to thank Christina for her
important accomplishments, incredible passion and many sacrifices in helping
to launch the network. This is a natural point of transition, and I am confident
that Peter, as an integral part of the launch of OWN, will be a terrific partner
for me going forward.”

Norman joined OWN in 2009 and oversaw its launch, replacing Discovery
Health. OWN posted 22% primetime audience growth during first-quarter
2011, compared to a year ago as Health, but Discovery CEO Zaslav said during
the company’s fi rst-quarter earnings call the ratings performance was
below expectations.

“Christina did a great job launching OWN with long-term support from both
advertising and affiliate partners,” Zaslav said in a statement. “Peter will now
ensure that OWN reaches its full creative potential with great programming that
delivers on Oprah’s vision, mission and brand.”

‘Law & Order: Criminal Intent’ Has Big Return

NEW YORK — The return of veteran Law & Order: Criminal Intent stars Vincent
D’Onofrio
and Kathryn Erbe helped the USA Network drama series
draw more than 5 million viewers to the May 1 premiere of its 10th and
final season.

The episode averaged 5.1 million
viewers, the show’s secondbiggest
audience since its original
episodes began airing on USA
in 2009 (the series aired on NBC
for its fi rst six seasons).

The season-10 debut posted
double-digit gains over the
season 9 debut across several
demos, including adults 25-54
(21%); adults 18-49 (35%);
adults 18-34 (31%); and total
viewers (43%).

Law & Order: CI original cast
members D’Onofrio and Erbe
as Dets. Robert Goren and Alex
Eames departed the series during
the season nine premiere
episode, but returned to do an
eight-episode “final season.”
Producer Dick Wolf has openly
campaigned to keep the show
going further, with a similar
schedule.

Also on May 1, the season four
premiere of drama In Plain Sight
averaged 3.8 million viewers, matching last March’s season three premiere.
The series, starring Mary McCormack, posted better numbers among adults
25-54 (1.4 million) and adults 18-34 (500,000) in its season-four debut than
all but one season-three telecast, network officials said.

September
October