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Fuse Will Reset Execs

11/17/2006 7:02 PM Eastern

The music-TV network Fuse will no longer be under the supervision of Andrea Greenberg, president of Rainbow Media Ventures, according to an industry executive familiar with changes in the works at the channel.

By the turn of the year, the home of F-List and Pants-Off Dance-Off will come under the watch of Ed Carroll, president of Rainbow Entertainment Services, according to this executive.

For three-and-a-half years, Fuse has struggled to gain traction as a snarky, hip alternative to MTV or VH1 for young music lovers.

Catherine Mullen, who had been general manager of MTV’s operations in the United Kingdom and Ireland, resigned as general manager of Fuse in September. She had been in the position for less than a year.

Jennifer Caserta, a former Court TV marketer, will take over Mullen’s post, according to the executive knowledgeable about the changes.

IFC SHIFT

Caserta was promoted by Carroll into her current position as senior vice president of marketing at Rainbow’s Independent Film Channel in April 2005. That was four months after Rainbow president Josh Sapan put Carroll into his current position, where he oversees three networks: IFC, AMC and WE.

Caserta came to IFC two years ago from Court TV and, in that time, has helped develop that network’s “strategic partnerships” with big brands such as Heineken, Target and Loews Theaters.

Rainbow, which is owned by Cablevision Systems, did not disclose reasons for the changes. Rainbow Media Holdings vice president of corporate communications Matt Frankel would not comment.

BRAVO BACKGROUND

Carroll was general manager of arts and culture network Bravo until it was sold to NBC for $1.25 billion in 2002.

The landmark and popular creative design show, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, was created during Carroll’s tenure there. Ratings have grown at WE and AMC since he took over. He has been with Rainbow since 1987.

Fuse’s signature show right now may well be Pants-Off Dance-Off, which debuted in the middle of Mullen’s short tenure and is known more for the final buck-nakedness of young and old participants than the music they strip to.

But even with the music television world’s equivalent of The Gong Show, the Fuse network in the third quarter only attracted 18,000 households and 21,000 viewers in primetime, on average, according to a Disney ABC Cable Networks analysis of Nielsen Media Research data.

By comparison, MTV’s flagship music television channel averaged 574,000 viewers daily, between Oct. 9 and Oct. 15, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Fuse also is only about halfway to becoming what is considered a full-fledged national cable and satellite TV network.

In May, Greenberg said Fuse reached 45 million households all told, up from 28 million when it launched. Her goal for the end of this year was 50 million households.

BUDGET CRUNCH

Mullen left because she was “very frustrated” by the budget she had to try and compete with MTV, according to the executive familiar with the changes.

Plus, Fuse frequently has difficulty getting out from the shadow of MTV. This fall, company officials watched the pitch of a new program where a headband camera showed viewers the “point of view” of a celebrity wearing it (in this case, Hilary Duff).

When the pilot was thrown up on screen, it was titled MTV P.O.V.

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