Exec takes VP of program acquisitions, scheduling post

ABC Family, shoring up its programming department in the wake of a nagging decline in its primetime ratings, has hired Tom Zappala for the new post of VP of program acquisitions and scheduling.

Zappala has resigned as senior VP of programming for Viacom Inc.’s 39 TV stations. Succeeding Zappala in the Viacom job is Tom Remiszewski, who will also continue as VP of creative services and marketing for the station group.

During the first quarter of 2003 in primetime, ABC Family plunged by 35% in total viewers compared with the same period a year ago, also dropping by 37% in adults 18 to 49 and by 38% in adults 25 to 54, two of its key demographic targets.

Zappala’s job will be to buy audience-generating theatrical movies and rerun series, and help to commission higher-visibility firstrun programming. Based in Los Angeles, Zappala reports to Tom Cosgrove, executive VP of ABC Family.

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