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Turner flies with Michael Wright

Exec VP to head up programming

Turner Networks has promoted Michael Wright to exec VP, head of programming, for TBS, TNT and Turner Classic Movies.

Move, which expands Wright’s purview to acquired programming, comes as Ken Schwab readies his move to Discovery Channel next month as senior VP of programming. Schwab is credited with bringing off-net laffers including “Family Guy” and “My Name Is Earl” to TBS and dramas including “Cold Case” and “Bones” to TNT.

In addition, the Los Angeles-based Wright will also now oversee Turner’s Atlanta-based program planning and scheduling department.

Also promoted amid this restructuring are Phil Oppenheim, who moves up to senior VP of program planning and scheduling, and Lillah McCarthy, who becomes senior VP of original series.

“I think this is really an acknowledgement that, by putting these groups together, we can create consistency and synergy and be that much more effective,” said Wright, who has been with Turner for six years.

“By bringing the rest of the programming division under (Wright’s) supervision, we will be able to maximize the full strength of our portfolio and maintain a consistent creative and strategic approach to our programming decisions,” said Steve Koonin, president of Turner Entertainment Networks.

Major expansion of Wright’s oversight comes after a string of successful drama launches for the former senior VP of Turner’s content creation group.

Coups for the group include the ascension of police procedural “The Closer” to ad-supported cable’s top-rated drama, as well as September’s record-breaking bow of Steven Bochco legal drama “Raising the Bar.”

On Sunday, TNT premiered Timothy Hutton starrer “Leverage” to an audience of 5 million viewers.

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