Comedy Central Eliminates Separate Digital Unit

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Viacom cabler expands roles for programming EVP Bernath and CMO Levitt to span all platforms

Viacom’s Comedy Central eliminated its standalone digital group and enhanced several execs’ responsibilities, as the cabler aims to further unify strategy across TV, online and mobile platforms.

With the reorg, Comedy elevated David Bernath to executive VP programming and multiplatform strategy, in charge of all programming. In addition, the programmer said Walter Levitt chief marketing officer will now be responsible for outreach across all platforms. Both execs will continue to report to president Michele Ganeless.

“We’ve dismantled the department formerly known as ‘digital’ to create an organization that better serves our fans and advertisers,” Ganeless said in announcing the change. “Our fans don’t use the word ‘digital’’ to talk about content and now, neither do we.”

Bernath has expanded his responsibilities to include oversight for the strategy and programming of Comedy Central content across all platforms — linear TV, ComedyCentral.com, VOD, SVOD, mobile and new emerging platforms. Levitt oversees all facets of strategic and creative marketing for the brand, including the recently formed Fan Engagement team that handles social and digital marketing through such partners as Twitter and Facebook.

Also as part of the reorganization, Steve Grimes has been named to the newly created position of senior VP, multiplatform strategy and development, reporting to Bernath and Erik Flannigan, exec VP of multiplatform strategy and development for Viacom Entertainment Group. Grimes adds multiplatform programming strategy to his previous responsibilities overseeing the Comedy Central digital media team.

The appointments follow the announcement earlier this year of Kent Alterman’s promotion to president of content development and original programming, overseeing all content development for the channel.

Comedy Central says it took a “holistic approach” to cross-platform programming with this summer’s “Drunk History,” generating 7 million sample views online and on mobile prior to linear premiere. That, according to the channel, resulted in its most successful summer show launch since 2010.

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