Jerry Hellard has been promoted to VP, public relations, West Coast, at ABC, filling the void left by the retirement of Bob Wright and responsible for all public relations and program publicity on the West Coast.

Hellard will report to Pete Barrett, the New York-based senior VP of public relations and affiliate marketing services, who took over the public relations area last spring following the retirement of Richard Connolly.

An ABC veteran since 1976, Hellard most recently was director of broadcast publicity/special projects, overseeing all electronic media publicity on ABC Entertainment programs. He has held that position since 1979.

Before joining the network, he worked at various TV stations, including the Taft Broadcasting Co. outlets in Lexington, Ky., and Kansas City, Mo.

It had been expected that ABC would promote from within, although Barrett reportedly looked at some outside candidates. Wright recently announced his retirement after 28 years at the network, having headed the West Coast PR department since 1986.