NEW YORK — Fred Dressler has confirmed rumors he’ll retire at the end of the year as exec VP of programming for Time Warner Cable, and his successor is Melinda Witmer, who gets promoted to senior VP-chief programming officer.
During his 20-year stint as head of programming, Dressler became embroiled in numerous controversies, the most recent of which is his three-year war of nerves with the NFL Network.
Dressler insists that only sports fans should pay for the NFL net, not Time Warner’s entire subscriber base. But a separately priced sports tier is unacceptable to the NFL Network because too few people would buy it, costing the net dearly in subscriber fees and ad revenues.
His public scolding of cable networks, particularly sports channels, for what he regards as excessive license fees has made Dressler a scourge to program services that demand big contract-renewal increases.
Helping fill the gap left by Dressler’s retirement, TW Cable has promoted senior VP of programming Lynne Constantini to senior VP- chief business affairs officer.
Before Witmer, an attorney, became senior VP of programming in June 2005, she was VP-chief counsel for programming at TW Cable. Witmer was VP and senior counsel for TW Cable’s HBO sibling from 1994-2001.
Constantini, also an attorney, joined TW Cable in 1996, working her way up the programming ranks and specializing in negotiating deals for multiple platforms.