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ABC Untangles Executive Web

Touchstone TV remaining separate

After weeks of delays, the Alphabet web Monday finalized the details of a new exec structure for its recently hitched ABC Entertainment and Touchstone Television units.

While many of the specifics of the reorganization had already leaked out, the announcement clears up some of the who-reports-to-whom mysteries lingering since the ABC-Touchstone merger was unveiled this summer. Those questions had threatened to make life difficult for ABC development execs as planning for the 2000-2001 season gets under way.

As expected, Touchstone Television will survive as a separate unit within the ABC Entertainment Television Group (Daily Variety, July 28). Steve McPherson will serve as exec VP of Touchstone, reporting to ABC Entertainment Television Group co-chairmen Stu Bloomberg and Lloyd Braun (Daily Variety, Sept. 10). McPherson will supervise day-to-day operations for Touchstone, including development of shows for ABC and other networks.

Development veep Julia Franz and creative affairs veep Jenny Hontz will report to McPherson.

Meanwhile, the ABC Entertainment division, part of the larger ABC Entertainment Television Group, will continue to encompass most departments dealing with production and development for ABC primetime, latenight, movies and minis.

Carolyn Ginsburg Carlson remains senior veepee of comedy for ABC Entertainment, supervising network comedy development and current laffers. She’ll report to Bloomberg and Braun, but work “in partnership with” McPherson on Touchstone development headed for ABC. Serving under Ginsburg Carlson as VPs of comedy will be Suzanne Bukinik, Glen Adilman, Stephanie Leifer, Susan Leeper and Francie Calfo.

New drama veep

Thom Sherman, exec director of drama for ABC, has been upped to VP of drama programming for ABC Entertainment. He’ll also report to Bloomberg and Braun while working with McPherson on Touchstone product geared for the Alphabet web. Sherman’s staff includes drama veep Jackie Lyons and Julie Pinchuk, manager of drama programming.

ABC Entertainment exec veep of movies and minis Susan Lyne remains in charge of original pics and minis for the net, with Maura Dunbar and Quinn Taylor staying put as veeps of minis/ special projects and motion pictures for television, respectively.

Also remaining stable is the program planning and scheduling department, headed by senior veep Jeff Bader with directors Wendell Foster and Cathy Korda.

Andrea Wong keeps her title as veep of latenight, alternative series and specs, but will now have oversight responsibility for the unit. Michael Davies, who had been in charge of the department, is ankling to focus on production of the summer hit “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” and is expected to ink a rich development deal with ABC (Daily Variety, July 28).

Cohen heading to market

Also as expected, Gotham-based exec Alan Cohen is relocating to Los Angeles to take on a new position as exec VP of marketing for ABC Entertainment. Cohen had been head of marketing for ABC Inc. Mike Benson remains senior veep for advertising and promotion, reporting to Cohen.

Finally, some departments will manage activities related to both ABC Entertainment and Touchstone Television.

In casting, senior veep Gene Blythe, formerly of Touchstone, will head an expanded unit responsible for casting both ABC and studio projects. Casting veeps Keli Lee and Rosalie Joseph will report to Blythe.

Mark Pedowitz remains exec veep of the ABC Television Group, overseeing business and legal affairs as well as duties related to production, finance and administration for ABC’s primetime programs and Touchstone. He’ll also have a role in latenight, kids and daytime.

Under Pedowitz will be former Touchstone exec Howard Davine. Davine will now be senior veep of the ABC Entertainment Television Group in charge of business and legal affairs for ABC Entertainment and Touchstone, as well as the production department and production finance department of Touchstone. Davine’s department will include senior veep for production Ted Kaye and business affairs veeps Olivia Cohen Cutler, Haya Handel and Jana Winograde.