WB TV’s intent is clear

Warner Bros. TV, pushing hard to get more stations to buy its elaborate new syndicated magazine series “Entertainment News TV,” has hired the syndie veteran Dan Greenblatt to take on the new post of senior vice president and general sales manager.

A Warner spokesman declined to comment, but one insider saysGreenblatt has resigned as the New York-based senior VP and Eastern regional sales manager for Twentieth TV. He’ll move to Warner Bros.’ headquarters in Los Angeles and start his new job Feb. 1. He will report to Scott Carlin, senior VP of sales.

Greenblatt’s first order of business will be to expand the clearance rate for “Entertainment News Television,” which — at an estimated cost of $ 75 million over the next two years — is shaping up to be the most ambitious syndicated strip in the history of the company.

“The majority of new programs are in a sales lull right now,” said Bill Carroll, VP and director of programming for rep firm Katz TV. Carroll said many stations held off committing to new series because they got bogged down negotiating with cable operators over retransmission consent.

Then, Carroll added, stations decided to wait until they could do a complete analysis of the November Nielsen ratings to determine which time periods needed shoring up. Nielsen published those ratings on the heels of the Christmas holidays, when dealmaking grinds to a halt. Sales are now picking up as stations begin to prepare for the National Assn. of Television Program Executives’ meeting in Miami Beach this month, according to Carroll.

“Dan Greenblatt is one of the savviest, most experienced sales executives in the business,” Carroll said. “He gives instant credibility to Warner Bros. And with the number of projects on Warners’ agenda, he’ll be a welcome addition.”

Although “ENT” is at the head of its list, Warner Bros. is getting lots of time-period upgrades for “The Jenny Jones Show,” which increased its rating in November and is wrapping up station deals for the 1994-95 season, its third year as a 60-minute talkshow strip.

Warner Bros. is also readying the successful ABC off-network sitcom “Step by Step” for fall 1995, with the exact details still to be determined. And waiting in the wings are two more potentially lucrative sitcom reruns, ABC’s “Hanging With Mr. Cooper” and the Fox network’s “Martin.”

Greenblatt’s held top sales positions at Paramount TV, where in 1981-82 he helped to launch “Entertainment Tonight,” the model for Warners’ “ENT,” and at LBS Communications. In 1987, when Greenblatt had his own company, he was instrumental in doing the marketing and clearing stations for Tribune Entertainment’s “Geraldo.” And at Twentieth TV, Greenblatt spearheaded the successful sale of “Current Affair.”

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