CBS News has upped a pair of execs in its communications department.Sonya McNair has advanced to senior veepee of communications for the division. She oversees media and talent relations as well as public affairs. She’s also involved with communications efforts for CBS Radio News, CBSNews.com and the CBS News Polling & Survey Unit. McNair joined CBS News in March 2009 as a consultant and was quickly upped to veep. Before joining CBS, she served as VP of corporate communications for Essence magazine and as director of PR for the New Yorker. She also served a stint in media relations at ABC News. Kelli Raftery, who has held PR posts in CBS’ news, sports and entertainment divisions, returns to the news wing as veep of communications. Raftery initially joined CBS in March 2010 as a freelancer. The shuffle in CBS News’ PR department come on the heels of Jeff Fager’s promotion to CBS News chairman and David Rhodes’ appointment as prexy. “An effective communications team has never been more important for our news organization,” said CBS News president David Rhodes. “Sonya has been a trusted adviser since I arrived here in February, and I’m looking forward to Kelli’s return from the West Coast.” Hilary Smith has been promoted to senior VP of communications for NBCUniversal’s entertainment and digital networks and integrated media division. Smith will oversee communications for various digital properties including Fandango, DailyCandy, Swirl, iVillage and Television Without Pity plus the Women at NBCU, Green Is Universal, Hispanics at NBCU and Healthy at NBCU initiatives. She reports to Nicholas Lehman, prexy of digital for the division, and Cameron Blanchard, exec veep of communications. “Hilary is the ideal person to spearhead communications across our newly formed digital portfolio, which is a key growth area for the company,” Lehman said. Smith was previously senior VP of communications in NBC-Universal’s women and lifestyle entertainment networks division. She joined the Peacock in 1998 as press manager for “Dateline NBC.” She move into corporate communications in 2002. The Weinstein Co. has named former Universal acquisitions exec Negeen Yazdi VP of acquisitions and co-productions. Yazdi will work out of TWC’s London office, reporting directly to exec VP acquisitions and co-productions Peter Lawson. Yazdi will be responsible for generating new projects for TWC, developing creative partnerships and overseeing daily operations of the company’s London office. Yazdi most recently served as director of worldwide acquisitions for Universal Pictures Intl., where her acquisitions included “A Dangerous Method,” “The Troll Hunter” and “Step Up 3D.” Leigh Collier has been named veep of programming and development for CBS Television Distribution. She’ll oversee firstrun development and help manage production of current strips. Collier spent the past three years as director of programming for Telepictures Prods., where she worked on such series as “TMZ,” “Judge Jeanine Pirro,” “Judge Mathis” and “The People’s Court.” She worked in media research for Telepictures before segueing into programming. Kingsley Smith has been named VP and news director for Fox O&O KTTV Los Angeles. He’ll oversee all editorial, business and administrative functions for the station, reporting to VP-general manager Kevin Hale. Smith replaces Jose Rios, who was promoted to VP of digital news applications for Fox Television Stations. Smith spent the past three years as news director for Fox O&O WTXF in Philadelphia, where he was news director. Performing rights org SESAC has promoted James Leach to veepee of writer-publisher relations and West Coast operations. The 10-year SESAC staffer previously served as associate VP of writer-publisher relations and new technologies. Prior to joining the org, he worked as a music supervisor for Fox Television and served as director of creative affairs for ATV Music Group. Universal Music Group Distribution has upped Mike Jakary to veep of label and field marketing. Jakary was previously senior director of label and field marketing. Gotham post-production facility DuArt has appointed Ron Harris veep of production and sales. Harris joins DuArt from Broadway Video.
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