New chief of publicity will oversee all PR

“American Idol” producer FremantleMedia North America has hired Manfred Westphal to serve as the company’s publicity chief.

Westphal was most recently vice president of media relations for Paramount Domestic Television. In his new gig, the exec, who initially joined the company earlier this year, serves as VP of communications. He oversees corporate, consumer and trade PR for the company.

Westphal reports to FremantleMedia North America CEO Cecile Frot-Coutaz, as well as chief creative officer Eugene Young.

“Manfred’s exceptional experience and track record launching and supervising the communications efforts for some of the most successful brands on television will be a tremendous asset to our company,” Frot-Coutaz said.

At Paramount, Westphal helped launch “Dr. Phil” and “The Insider” and also helped organize events such as “Entertainment Tonight’s” annual Emmy party. Other shows he handled included “Judge Judy,” “The Montel Williams Show” and “Judge Joe Brown.”

Westphal’s other credits include a stint at Showcase Communications, where he worked with clients such as TiVo, and Dan Klores Associates.

Beyond “Idol” (which it produces with 19 TV), FremantleMedia North America is also behind “America’s Got Talent,” “The Next Great American Band,” “The Price Is Right,” “Family Feud” and “The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency.”

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