Tribune Broadcasting has pushed Mike Eigner, executive VP and general manager of its New York O&O WPIX, onto the fast track by adding a new title – VP, East Coast, Tribune TV – to his portfolio.
The new post gives Eigner responsibility over two of Tribune’s O&O stations, WPHL Philadelphia and WLVI Boston, which are close to New York both in geography and in format. All three are independent stations that have signed up with the new Warner Bros. Network.
“We’ll now be able to create a clear focus on three stations that have a lot in common,” says Randy Smith, general manager of WPHL. “Mike Eigner will help us to work in concert on everything from programming to sales to promotion.”
For example, Smith says he plans to tap Eigner’s negotiating skills as WPHL decides whether to pay big bucks to Columbia TriStar TV Distribution for the rerun rights to “Seinfeld” in Philadelphia. Eigner has already bought the show for a fall 1996 start on WPIX.
“But Tribune tends to let all of its general managers run their stations with as little interference as possible,” says Eigner. “I don’t want to change that – I’m not going to be over-domineering, over-controlling.”
Eigner says his promotion will help to alleviate some of the burden on Dennis FitzSimons, executive VP of Tribune Broadcasting, who runs both the station group (which consists of eight big-market O&Os, including VHF stations in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago) and the entertainment division, which produces and distributes such TV series as “Geraldo,” “Soul Train” and the new talkshow strip “Charles Perez.”
Eigner has been general manager of WPIX since 1989.