WNBC-TV bags vet Forman

Swanson shift starts shakeup in Gotham scene

WNBC-TV New York has raided the news division of WABC-TV to sign Dan Forman, who becomes WNBC’s senior VP of news and station manager. Forman has resigned as director of news for WABC.

The assault on WABC is just the latest personnel shakeup that has upended Gotham in the wake of Dennis Swanson’s resignation as G.M. of WNBC-TV New York 10 days ago to take over as head of all of the Viacom-owned TV stations, including WCBS-TV New York.

WNBC is still reeling from Swanson’s defection because he’s one of the most highly regarded veteran TV station executives in the business. Swanson’s first move last week was to hire WNBC’s head of sales Lew Leone, making him the general manager of WCBS-TV.

Comerford steps in

When Swanson ankled WNBC July 12, the station tapped Frank Comerford, who was executive VP of sales for the NBC-owned TV stations, to replace Swanson as president and G.M. of WNBC. Comerford engineered the deal that brought Forman back to WNBC, where he served for six years as an executive, rising to news director by 1998. Two years ago, he left WNBC to become news director of WABC. WNBC’s VP of news Dianne Doctor will now report to Forman.

Along with the Forman announcement, WNBC promoted two of its veteran executives, making David Hyman VP of creative services and programming and Anna Carbonell VP of station relations.

Search begins

WABC has begun the search for Forman’s replacement as news director. The acting news director will be Kenny Plotnik, who was assistant to Forman.

The New York market is girding itself for many more personnel shifts as local TV stations adjust to what’s expected to be a frontal assault by Swanson to move WCBS and other CBS-owned TV stations from their perennial also-ran positions, languishing well behind the O&O of NBC and ABC.

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