Viacom taps Klinghoffer sr. VP

Viacom Entertainment has named Michael Klinghoffer to the new post of senior VP of TV programming and production in New York, where he will head a stepped-up in-house production unit.

Klinghoffer, a programming veteran of Nickelodeon and Comedy Central, will lead Viacom’s efforts to develop programming for network, cable, first-run and other outlets.

Viacom has identified programming as a key business of the future and one in which it wants to have an expanded presence.

But while Viacom may want to boost production levels, its management has expressed distaste for investment in high-deficit programming. After a rash of layoffs in its syndie division, Viacom Entertainment chairman Neil Braun said the company could no longer afford to produce shows at huge deficits without any chance of recouping its investment in syndication (Daily Variety, Oct. 22).

Klinghoffer did not share specifics of new shows, but spoke of the need to develop programming “efficiently.” He will not staff up much, relying heavily on freelancer producers.

Klinghoffer’s appointment is the latest in a series of management changes that began about four months ago when entertainment and broadcasting chairman Henry S. Schlieff left his executive post for an independent production deal.

At that time, Braun became chairman and CEO of Viacom Entertainment and Edward D. Horowitz was elevated to chairman and CEO of Viacom Broadcasting (Daily Variety, July 21).

A few months later, the company named longtime staffer Deborah Beece as president of TV programming and production (Daily Variety, Oct. 1).

As part of its reevaluation of its operations, the company has been pruning its ranks, eliminating positions on the West Coast at its network production arm , Viacom Prods. The company has denied as “absolutely untrue” rumors that it might be phasing out the Viacom Prods. operation altogether.

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