MTV Networks has upped Bruce Friend to senior VP, international worldwide research and planning.

Previously, Friend was VP, Nickelodeon Worldwide research and planning. In his expanded role, Friend will work with the locally based international research staffs to coordinate research efforts outside the United States, as well as manage film research for MTV Films and Nickelodeon Movies.

Friend joined MTV Networks in 1993 overseeing research and strategic planning for MTV Latin America and in 1995 moved to VH1 in a similar capacity.

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Phillip Evans has been named senior designer at Taffetdesign, Inc. The company specializes in broadcast design and promotion.

Evans’ responsibilities will now include designing, creating and supervising the studio’s broadcast and new-media design projects.

Prior to joining Taffetdesign, Evans designed numerous network identity projects for CNBC, CTC Russia, Cable Vision Argentina, NBC Europe and Univision.

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Fox Entertainment Group has hired National Basketball Assn. exec Rick Welts as prexy, Fox Sports Enterprises, a new company formed to oversee Fox’s ownership interests in professional sports teams and arenas.

Welts, 46, was executive VP and chief marketing officer for the NBA.

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Ed Renicker has been upped to director of sales of the New York Interconnect, a division of Rainbow Advertising Sales Corp.

In his new position Renicker will be responsible for local and national sales, promotions and marketing support for the division. An 11-year veteran, Renicker previously was general sales manager for the company.

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Iwerks Entertainment has tapped Marianne Cheyne VP of entertainment and retail sales.

Cheyne will be responsible for increasing Iwerks’ presence in new and emerging markets, including the retail and gaming industries, as part of the company’s overall aggressive sales strategy. She reports to Jack Shishido, senior VP of worldwide sales and marketing.

Prior to joining Iwerks, Cheyne served as VP, marketing and sales for Spectra Entertainment. Before that, she was with Showscan Entertainment for eight years where she held several positions including director of marketing and executive director of sales.

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Ritamarie Peruggi has been promoted to senior VP, production worldwide, for the Jim Henson Co.

In her new post, Peruggi will be responsible for overseeing production for worldwide television and will report to Martin Baker, executive VP of production worldwide.

Previously VP of production, Peruggi served as exec on the shows “Family Rules” and “Brats of the Lost Nebula.”

Peruggi joined the Henson Co. in 1981, working on projects such as “A Muppet Family Christmas,” “The Jim Henson Hour” and “Jim Henson’s Muppet Vision 3-D.” She also produced a number of Jim Henson video releases and co-produced “Song of the Cloud Forest,” which was nominated for an Emmy.

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Robert R. Newman has been upped from director to VP, finance and accounting, for the American Film Marketing Assn.

In his new post, Newman will direct all the association’s financial activities, including the fiscal management of the American Film Market.

Robert joined AFMA in 1990 and recently concluded his 10th AFM.