After an extensive hunt, MediaOne has chosen Jedd Palmer,
former senior vice president of programming for TCI Communications Inc., to succeed Rob
Stengel as its head of programming.
MediaOne announced Palmer's appointment as senior vice
president of programming last week, after weeks of speculation that he was one of the
final candidates for the post. That talk heated up with Tele-Communications Inc.'s
announcement late last year that Palmer was leaving 'to pursue another
opportunity.' Headhunter Ann Carlsen said that about 120 qualified candidates were
considered for Stengel's job.
As part of the new executive team that MediaOne -- formerly
Continental Cablevision Inc. -- is building in Denver, Palmer said he will be able to
expand on the kinds of duties that he had at TCI.
'It's [MediaOne] a great company and a great
opportunity to expand beyond affiliation deals to do equity investments and
international,' Palmer said. 'This is a company that's restocking its
executive ranks and looking at the industry with a new set of eyes.'
Palmer, who started at MediaOne last week, already has some
fires to put out. MediaOne, reaching 5.1 million homes, is one of three major MSOs that
haven't yet agreed to sign up for TBS Superstation's conversion to a basic
network. Noting that the TBS issue was 'sort of a sore point,' Palmer said it
was too early to comment on how MediaOne will ultimately come down on the issue. However,
Palmer did negotiate a TBS deal while he was at TCI.
Palmer will be responsible for all of MediaOne's
relationships with national and regional programmers, as well as for overseeing its
Palmer is being succeeded at TCI by Madison
'Matt' Bond, who has been promoted to senior vice president of programming
administration and president of Satellite Services Inc. Bond was previously TCI's
vice president of programming and senior vice president of SSI, which manages the delivery
of video-programming services to TCI cable systems and affiliates.
'Matt is very well-respected,' said Bill Goodwyn,
senior vice president of affiliate sales and marketing for Discovery Networks U.S.
'It's an excellent move [for him], as well as it is for Jedd.'
In terms of Palmer joining MediaOne, Goodwyn said,
'It's a wonderful fit for both MediaOne and for Jedd. There are few people as
bright and creative as he is in terms of negotiating with programmers.'
Palmer, a lawyer who joined TCI in 1990, is replacing
Stengel, who didn't want to uproot his family and move from Boston to Denver, where U
S West Media Group (which is in the process of changing its name to MediaOne Group)
relocated MediaOne. Stengel, who has formed his own Boston-based consulting firm, Robert
Stengel & Associates, will do some consulting for MediaOne to help complete several
programming agreements. Palmer said he wasn't sure how many of MediaOne's
programming-department staffers were coming over from Boston.
During the latter part of Palmer's tenure, in 1995,
TCI took a tough, confrontational approach with programmers, dropping and later restoring
networks in several markets. But when Leo J. Hindery Jr. came on board last year to lead
TCI as president and chief operating officer, he told Wall Street analysts that he sought
more amicable relationships with programmers.
Last summer, Hindery split the duties at TCI's
programming department. Some of Palmer's responsibilities were given to Tracey
Wagner, who was promoted in June to the newly created post of senior vice president of
programming distribution. Her role was to oversee programming distribution out in the
field to TCI's systems, based on their individual needs and subscriber desires.
In an unusual organizational structure, Palmer will report
to Julie Dexter Berg, the MSO's executive vice president and chief marketing officer.
In a prepared statement, Berg said, 'Among all of the programming executives for
cable's multiple system operators, Jedd is the best in his class ... His
extraordinary knowledge of the field and his relationships in the industry will be a
tremendous benefit to us.'
Bond, who couldn't be reached for comment, will report
to Hindery. Bond, like Palmer, is a lawyer. He joined TCI in 1992 as assistant director of