Askanas to oversee publicity

Sony Pictures Television has completed a restructuring of its media relations department, tapping Paula Askanas to oversee publicity efforts for all aspects of the company.

Askanas, an eight-year Sony vet, will be in charge of all corporate, program and exec publicity for Sony’s domestic TV operations, including primetime, cable and syndication; she’ll also handle publicity for Sony’s advertiser sales division. She reports to SPT exec VP of marketing Robert Oswaks and will maintain her title of senior VP.

“As the company redefined itself and consolidated its operations, it made sense that our media relations department reflect those changes as well, making it more efficient and more responsive to the company’s needs,” Oswaks said. “What’s terrific about working with Paula is her commitment to the job and her passion and enthusiasm for creating results. She approaches media relations as a discipline that has the ability to maximize awareness of both our product and our company to the right audience, at the right time.”

Year of change

Changes follow a year of transformation at SPT, which consolidated its network and syndie operations into one unit and ditched the old Columbia TriStar Television moniker. Askanas had previously headed up publicity for Sony’s network TV division, having been upped to senior VP in 2000.

In addition to expanding Askanas’ responsibilities, SPT has also added several publicity execs to its ranks and promoted a pair of publicists:

  • Robert Pietranton has joined SPT as VP of media relations. He’ll focus on syndie programming and serve as a chief liaison for trade pubs.

    Pietranton comes to Sony from DreamWorks TV, where he served as head of publicity. He’s also done stints at Warner Bros. TV Distribution and NBC.

  • Jennifer Schmitz has been upped to VP of media relations, concentrating on network and cable programs. She’ll also handle organizational responsibilities within the department.

    Schmitz has been at Sony since 1999, joining as manager of media relations and promoted to director last year. She previously worked as manager of primetime and daytime PR for NBC.

    Getting onboard

  • Tamara Golihew has been hired to serve as director of media relations and will work on both syndie series such as “Shipmates” and daytime sudser “The Young and the Restless.”

  • Christopher Albert has been upped to director of media relations. He’ll work on syndie properties “Ricki Lake” and “Pyramid.”

  • Bridget Cooper has been tapped publicity manager for SPT, focusing on cable series and telepics.

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