HOLLYWOOD — Former Columbia TriStar ad sales vet Chris Kager has been named prexy of recently forged venture MGM/NBC Media Sales Group.

Best known for overhauling Columbia TriStar’s TV sales unit between 1992 and 2000 — encompassing its syndication, cable and network businesses — Kager will oversee ad sales for MGM and NBC firstrun syndie and off-net content.

Kager also will look for marketing sponsorship and corporate partnership prospects for MGM/NBC Media Sales. Company was launched in February to manage sales of such shows as NBC Enterprises strip “Weakest Link” and upcoming joint NBC/MGM production “She Spies.”

Eye on sponsorships

Other shows under his watch include MGM’s Showtime drama “Jeremiah” and NBC’s upcoming talker “The John Walsh Show.”

The past head of the NBC/MGM sales unit, exec VP Michael Daraio, will report to Kager, who’ll be based in New York.

“Chris brings valuable insight into the needs of the advertising community and a proven ability to identify lucrative partnerships,” NBC Enterprises chief Ed Wilson said.

MGM Worldwide Television distribution head Jim Griffiths added, “With Chris leading the MGM/NBC media sales team, it is superbly positioned to nurture new opportunities with national advertisers.”

Rainbow sales

Reporting to both Wilson and Griffiths, Kager most recently was topper of U.S. ad sales at Rainbow Advertising Sales Corp. He supervised business for such Rainbow-owned channels as Bravo, Much Music USA and WE: Women’s Entertainment.

During his earlier Columbia TriStar stint, Kager also steered sales efforts for the Game Show Network, operated by Col TriStar parent Sony. Also while exec veep of the studio’s ad sales department, Kager inked an exclusive pact with DirecTV, representing the satellite provider’s entire commercial inventory.