ABC to name Padden to top web post

NEW YORK — ABC today is expected to announce the appointment of Preston Padden as president of the ABC television network, as previously reported (Daily Variety, May 12).

Padden, most recently president of News Corp.’s ASkyB sat-TV venture, will fill a job last held by David Westin, now president of ABC News. He’ll oversee several non-programming departments, including sales, affiliate relations, broadcast operations and research. Padden could also become the point man for digital TV technology. The marketing function may report directly to ABC Inc. president-CEO Robert Iger.

Iger denied that an announcement would be made today. Padden, a seven-year News Corp. veteran, had earlier served as head of network distribution for Fox Broadcasting, where he also oversaw affiliate relations. Although he’s been in talks with ABC for several weeks, a deal was stalled by News Corp.’s Rupert Murdoch, who wavered on letting Padden out of his contract.

Also today, ABC is expected to announce pickup of the Barbara Walters-produced daytime talkshow “The View From Here” for a mid-August start.

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