NBC hires Cheatwood

He's vp, daytime development

NBC named Joel Cheatwood, who was involved with the Jerry Springer debacle at NBC’s WMAQ-TV in Chicago, to the post of VP, daytime development for NBC.

Cheatwood previously held a dual-reporting job as VP, news, at WMAQ and as a consultant reporting to the NBC Television Stations Division. At WMAQ, Cheatwood hired syndication bad-boy Jerry Springer to do news commentaries, an infamous move that caused the station’s two leading news anchors to quit in protest. The station’s ratings immediately tumbled.

Despite this well-publicized incident, Scott Sassa, president of NBC Television Stations, said that NBC’s executives believe that Cheatwood has the talent to develop new daytime programs for NBC’s stations.

“We have a need for daytime shows,” said Sassa. “If you compared NBC stations to ABC’s, ABC’s stations have better shows in daytime. A hit show would be so valuable.”

Sassa said that because his corporate staff is so small, he doesn’t have a person that can concentrate full-time on developing daytime programming, and Cheatwood has experience in this area.

Before joining NBC in February 1997, Cheatwood was senior VP at Sunbeam Television Corp. Previously, he was VP, non-fiction programming, at Twentieth Television, where he was responsible for development of non-fiction projects for syndication and served as executive producer of the syndicated daily magazine, “Personalities.”

In his new position, Cheatwood will be based in Chicago.