ABC punches up Wallau to prexy post

Net topper to allow Bloomberg, Braun to continue daily operations

NEW YORK — Veteran ABC Television exec and on-air boxing analyst Alex Wallau has been upped to president of the ABC Television Network.

Wallau has been interim president since March, when Pat Fili-Krushel ankled the post to join Healtheon/WebMD as prexy and CEO of its consumer division. Before assuming the interim presidency, Wallau was prexy, ABC Television Network operations and administration.

Wallau will be responsible for all business and programming areas of the ABC network, including ABC Entertainment, ABC News, ABC Sports, children’s programming and daytime, as well as finance, research, network public relations, television network sales, affiliate relations, marketing and broadcast operations and engineering.

Although Wallau estimates that some 4,500 ABC staffers will be reporting to him, and he doesn’t plan on micromanaging, he said Monday during an interview with Daily Variety.

Specifically, Wallau plans to leave daily oversight of ABC Entertainment Group to the division’s co-presidents, Stu Bloomberg and Lloyd Braun.

“I’ve got a great relationship with Stu and Lloyd,” said Wallau. “I don’t plan to interfere on a daily basis. I think we’ve got a good, smart team in place.”

Indeed, Braun said he and Bloomberg “couldn’t be happier” about Wallau’s promotion.

“We think he’s a fantastic, forward-thinking executive who is knowledgeable about all facets of the network business,” Braun said. “He’s just a dynamo in every way.”

Wallau said ABC’s main challenge, in addition to maintaining its No. 1 position in primetime, will be to take traditional content into new media and develop new content for the Internet and broadband.

Wallau has been with ABC since 1976, joining the company as head of on-air promos for ABC Sports. He later became a producer for ABC Sports, snagging two Emmys for his work.

He became an on-air boxing analyst for ABC Sports in 1986, moving over to the corporate side of the company in 1991, when he became a consultant to chairman of the ABC Group Robert Iger, who then headed the web’s entertainment division. He was exec VP of the net from 1996-98.

“I’m not sure anybody in senior management at a network has my background,” said Wallau. “I’ve been a producer, a director, and on-air talent. I think that gives me a certain perspective that’s been helpful.”

In addition to his management responsibilities, Wallau will continue as ABC’s on-air boxing analyst. He will report to Robert Callahan, president of the ABC Broadcast Group.

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