Norman Tapped to Lead VH1

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Former MTV Networks marketing executive Christina Norman was tapped last week to help right the company's VH1 music network.

But while Norman will effectively fill the shoes of recently departed VH1 president John Sykes, the network is still searching for a programming chief to resuscitate the network's flagging ratings.

Norman, whose official title is VH1 executive vice president and general manager, will oversee day-to-day operations for the channel and its related digital services. She reports to MTV Networks president Judith McGrath.

At first, Norman's focus will be on strengthening the programming. VH1's first-quarter primetime household ratings were down 40 percent from last year, to an 0.3 average, and several recently launched series have yet to break out.

The network hasn't made any decisions regarding programming, Norman said. Reports have said MTV: Music Television programming president Brian Graden might also take on those duties for VH1.

"We haven't made any decisions, but I think that it's something that Judy McGrath and I are going to take on together," Norman said. "I think we're still looking at different options surrounding that programming role, and Brian is definitely part of that mix."

Overall, Norman said she's optimistic.

"VH1 is a strong brand and clearly there's some great opportunities to reconnect and reinvent itself," she said. "This will be a long-term project and there won't be any quick fixes, but the brand is in a great position."

Norman, an 11-year MTVN veteran and one of the highest-ranking African-American women in cable, was previously senior vice president of marketing and on-air promotion at MTV. She was responsible for the campaign to launch MTV's The Osbournes,
the branding of the 10 Spot
programming franchise and the introduction and integration of MTV360.

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