×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Showtime shakes up PR operation

Licata to upgrade talent relations, build brands

NEW YORK — Showtime Networks’ public-relations operation is getting its biggest shakeup in more than a decade with the signing of veteran Richard Licata as exec VP in charge of programming publicity for Showtime, the Movie Channel and all of their various multiplex channels.

Licata’s hiring for the newly created post marks the first executive appointment engineered by Robert Greenblatt since he took over as president of Showtime Entertainment in July from Jerry Offsay. Neither Greenblatt nor Licata was available for comment over the New Year’s weekend.

Cable analysts say that the L.A.-based Licata’s role will be vital to Showtime’s goal of trying to emerge more forcefully from the shadow of its bigger and better-funded rival HBO. He reports at the end of the month.

Licata, who has resigned as exec VP of television and digital media for Rogers & Cowan, once worked for HBO. He was one of the key strategists who helped to ramp up the industry profile of HBO from 1985-93, guiding it to record numbers of Emmy and Golden Globe awards. During that period, Licata was HBO’s VP of media relations, West Coast, taking charge of the publicity for the network’s movies and series.

One of Licata’s aims at Showtime will be to build up the marketing of network series such as “Queer as Folk,” “Dead Like Me,” “Soul Food” and “Chris Isaak,” bringing them to the attention not only of pay TV subscribers but of critics and Emmy voters as well.

Licata also will be charged with upgrading talent relations, an area that the Hollywood agencies say could use some bolstering — even such fundamentals as buying gifts for the actors when their series gets renewed and having PR reps regularly on the set of Showtime movies and series to smooth out any problems.

Under the new PR setup, Nancy Glauberman will continue as senior VP of corporate communications, based in New York. But the people on Glauberman’s staff who deal with programming, both in L.A. (like Robin McMillan, senior VP of public relations) and in New York, will now report to Licata.

For the last five years at Rogers & Cowan, Licata has supervised such TV-series clients as “Will & Grace,” “The Shield,” “Monk” and “Judge Judy.” Other clients under his bailiwick included Discovery Networks, FX Networks, the Universal TV Group and Lions Gate Entertainment.

Licata’s campaign for “The Shield” led to two first-time-ever awards to a basic-cable network, FX: the Golden Globe nod for best drama series and the Emmy for best actor to the star of “The Shield,” Michael Chiklis.

Before joining Rogers & Cowan, Licata was senior VP of publicity and corporate communications for the Fox Broadcasting Co., where he worked with Greenblatt, who was exec VP of primetime programming for Fox at the time.

Prior to Fox, Licata was a communications and marketing consultant for the MGM Worldwide TV Group, Mark Carliner Prods. and Citadel Entertainment.

Licata started his PR career as a senior publicist for HBO in 1980, rising to VP of media relations in 1985. In the 1970s, he served as an entertainment reporter and editor for the New York Daily News.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Prodigal-Son

    TV Review: 'Prodigal Son'

    Darkness on network TV can feel a bit by-the-book; in order to impress us with how edgy they’re able to be within stricter boundaries than cable and streaming, dramas lard on violence and evil that can feel a bit unmotivated. Which is why “Prodigal Son,” a new Fox drama, is in its first three episodes [...]

  • Charlie Rose Sexual Harassment

    Charlie Rose Sued for Sexual Harassment by Longtime Makeup Artist

    A makeup artist who worked for Charlie Rose for 22 years has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit, accusing the former CBS and PBS host of years of unlawful behavior toward female employees. Gina Riggi alleges that Rose was verbally abusive with her and would often make derogatory comments about her weight. She also alleges that [...]

  • Actress Catherine Oxenberg, left, with Stanley

    Catherine Oxenberg on Dramatizing Her Life Story for 'Escaping the NXIVM Cult'

    For seven years, Catherine Oxenberg says, individuals within the NXIVM organization groomed her daughter India and made her believe in their group as one of empowerment, despite many of their practices being abusive towards women. Now, those years have been condensed into a 90-minute dramatization of Oxenberg’s story for Lifetime, entitled “Escaping the NXIVM Cult: [...]

  • Suzanne Whang Obit

    'House Hunters' Star Suzanne Whang Dies at 56

    Suzanne Whang, best known for her nine-year hosting and narrating stint on HGTV’s “House Hunters,” died Tuesday after a 13-year battle with breast cancer. She was 56. Whang’s partner Jeff Vezain shared the news on Facebook Thursday, writing that “she confronted cancer with courage, humor, determination and optimism.” “She was immensely encouraged by the love [...]

  • Ronen Rubinstein, Sierra McClain Join ‘9-1-1:

    Ronen Rubinstein, Sierra McClain Join ‘9-1-1’ Spinoff at Fox

    Fox’s “9-1-1” spinoff has added two more series regulars to its cast. Ronen Rubinstein and Sierra McClain have joined previously announced cast members Rob Lowe, Liv Tyler and Jim Parrack, Variety has learned. The new entry to the budding “9-1-1” franchise follows a sophisticated New York fireman (Lowe) who, along with his son, re-locates to Austin, [...]

  • Mr Robot BTS

    How 'Mr. Robot' Launched Its Creator and Star to New Heights

    “Mr. Robot” may be synonymous with helping USA redefine its long-touted “blue-skies” strategy into its current “we the bold” motto, but the series was also career-defining for those involved — particularly creator Sam Esmail and actor Rami Malek. Malek’s resume included a few key credits including HBO’s “The Pacific” and “Short Term 12” before taking [...]

  • AMERICAN IDOL - "119 (Grand Finale)"

    Ryan Seacrest to Return for 'American Idol' Season 3 on ABC

    Ryan Seacrest will return as the host of “American Idol” for the music competition’s third season on ABC. Seacrest will also continue hosting and executive producing “On Air with Ryan Seacrest,” his nationally syndicated L.A. morning drive-time radio show. He also serves as co-host and executive producer on ABC’s “Live with Kelly and Ryan,” as [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content