Tribune Taps NBCU Exec Dana Zimmer

Hiring of Comcast alum signals company's focus on boosting carriage fees for stations, WGN America

Call her Tribune’s executive in charge of retransmission consent deals.

Tribune Co. boss Peter Liguori has recruited NBCUniversal exec Dana Zimmer to serve as prexy of distribution for Tribune Broadcasting. Based in Gotham, she’ll oversee carriage pacts for the company’s 23 TV stations, national WGN America cabler and regional sports networks in more than a dozen markets. She reports to Liguori.

Zimmer’s appointment is a sign that the new regime at Tribune is focused on boosting the company’s affiliate fees, which in many markets have lagged other broadcast groups. The WGN America cabler has undergone a big makeover during the past few years but has struggled to achieve meaningful coin in carriage fees from cable, satellite and telco distribs.

“Tribune has one of the most powerful distribution and marketing platforms in broadcasting, and Dana’s talent, creativity, and experience make her the perfect fit to lead our distribution efforts,” Liguori said.  “Between our 23 local stations and superstation WGN America, we reach 80% of the country—more than 75 million homes.  Dana understands our broadcast assets and the tremendous value they provide to content providers, advertisers and our distribution partners.”

Zimmer will join Tribune on May 13. She worked in affiliate sales and marketing at Comcast from 2005 through 2011, and transitioned to exec veep of TV Networks Distribution at NBCU following Comcast’s acquisition of the Peacock in January 2011.

In her new post, Zimmer will work closely with Kevin Connor, Tribune Broadcasting’s senior VP of affiliate sales and marketing.

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