×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

ABC shuffle strives for promo mojo

Benson and Provencio to top net's market team

ABC has shaken up its marketing team, naming longtime staffers Mike Benson and Marla Provencio to head the department.

Out in the shift are Geoff Calnan and Paul Wang, who had been recruited to the network last fall by former ABC marketing topper Steve Sohmer. Calnan and Wang had been expected to depart ever since Sohmer abruptly left the Alphabet web in March after just seven months on the job.

In the meantime, Calnan, Wang and Benson have handled various duties within the department, but the beleaguered web has had no permanent topper in marketing, advertising or promotion topper since. That had put ABC at a disadvantage when the network probably needed a strong marketing presence the most.

Benson and Provencio firmly take control of the Alphabet’s marketing just in time to oversee the launch of the network’s new fall schedule. That includes creating campaigns to promote the return of ABC’s “TGIF” comedy franchise and the move of “Wonderful World of Disney” and “L.A. Dragnet” to Saturday nights.

The executive shuffle is a vindication of sorts for Benson, who ran the marketing department on an interim basis after former department chief Alan Cohen left ABC in January 2002.

But rather than give Benson the gig full time, the net recruited CBS and NBC vet Sohmer to take over the top marketing job last August.

Benson has most recently served as senior vice president of marketing, advertising and promotion at ABC Entertainment, which he joined in June 1998. Provencio, who’s currently vice president focusing on drama promos, has worked in virtually every aspect of the promotion department since joining the network in November 1980. It’s unclear whether both will get new titles or be named co-senior VPs.

ABC Entertainment TV Group chairman Lloyd Braun is still hammering out the specifics of how Benson and Provencio will divide duties, with one perhaps overseeing creative and the other running marketing projects and strategy.

Benson’s other credits include serving as senior VP of promotion and program planning at VH1, and working as director of communications at KCBS, Los Angeles. Provencio has won multiple Promax awards in her 23 years at ABC.

ABC’s marketing department has seen a number of execs quickly enter and exit in recent years. Besides Sohmer, Chris Moseley spent just six months at the Alphabet web in 1999.

More TV

  • RENT: Top L-R to Bottom L-R:

    TV Shows to Watch the Week of Jan. 21, 2019: 'Rent: Live,' 'Celebrity Big Brother'

    Welcome back to Tune In: our weekly newsletter offering a guide to the best of the week’s TV. Each week, Variety’s TV team combs through the week’s schedule, selecting our picks of what to watch and when/how to watch them. This week, “Rent: Live” airs on Fox and “Celebrity Big Brother” returns for a second [...]

  • Black Monday: How Showtime Dusted Off

    'Black Monday': How Showtime Dusted Off An Old '80s Logo For Its New Comedy

    Cocaine’s a hell of a drug, but you’re not seeing things: That, indeed is Showtime’s old 1980s-era logo pasted all over marketing materials and promos for “Black Monday,” a tongue-in-cheek tale of the excesses exhibited by Wall Street traders in the lead-up to the stock market crash of 1987. The logo, which hasn’t been in [...]

  • 'Russian Doll' Review

    TV Review: 'Russian Doll'

    This is a particularly tricky review to write, but not because the merits of “Russian Doll” are at all ambiguous. On the contrary, the show is so striking and smart that I made a note to include it on my favorite TV shows of 2019 immediately after blowing through the season — which is saying [...]

  • Black Earth Rising Review

    TV Review: 'Black Earth Rising'

    Bringing to bear a talented cast on a story of real geopolitical significance, “Black Earth Rising,” Netflix’s drama about the long-tail aftermath of the Rwandan genocide, would seem to have had the potential to be one of 2019’s early television successes. Which makes its falling short all the more painful and pronounced. The show, previously [...]

  • DIRTY JOHN -- "This Young Woman

    'Dirty John' Finale Hits New Ratings Highs in Live+3

    The Season 1 finale of “Dirty John” on Bravo continued the scripted show’s ratings hot streak in Live+3. The finale, which aired on Jan. 13, grew to 3.3 million viewers in delayed viewing with 1.3 million of those falling in the key adults 18-49 demographic. That is up 10% in total viewers and 15% in [...]

  • Sky and Warner Bros. Alums Join

    Sky and Warner Bros. Alums Join ITV-Backed Production Company Possessed

    Former Sky One and Sky Living programming chief Adam MacDonald has joined Possessed, and will be the ITV-owned production banner’s first chair. The U.K.-based unscripted producer has also hired Lesley Davies, former head of international production at Warner Bros. She will head up production. The double hires follow a recommission  of gameshow “5 Gold Rings,” [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content