MTV Networks has appointed MTV: Music Television marketing executive Christina Norman to head the struggling VH1 network.
Norman was named executive vice president and general manager, replacing
former VH1 and Country Music Television president John Sykes, who left last
month to head Viacom Inc.'s Infinity Broadcasting Corp. radio operations.
Charged with turning around the fortunes of the music service, Norman will
oversee day-to-day operations for VH1 and its related digital services,
including VH1 Classic, VH1 Mega Hits, VH Uno and VH1 Soul.
An 11-year MTV veteran, Norman was previously senior VP of marketing and
on-air promotion at MTV, responsible for on and off-air marketing, branding and
positioning of MTV, MTV2 and MTV.com.
She will report directly to recently named MTV Networks music-group president
Initially, Norman's main focus will be on strengthening the network's
programming. VH1's first-quarter household ratings were down 40 percent from
last year, and several recently launched series have yet to break through.
Norman said the company hasn't made any decisions regarding programming,
including a number of reports indicating that MTV programming president Brian
Graden may direct VH1's original programming.
'We haven't made any decisions, but I think 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 about the channel's future. '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,' added Norman, who becomes one of the
highest-ranking African-American women executives in cable.