Fox Stations chief Jack Abernethy tapped CBS stations exec Dennis Swanson as president of operations for News Corp.’s 35 O&Os.
Appointment is the latest for the stations group, which was reorganized under Fox News Channel topper Roger Ailes after former chairman Lachlan Murdoch left the company in July.
Swanson will focus on local news for the stations group, including Fox’s characteristic morning shows, which take on NBC’s “Today” and ABC’s “Good Morning America” in local markets and Fox’s 10 p.m. news.
That could mean standardizing the look and feel of Fox newscasts, and sharing of talent between local stations and Fox News Channel.
He joins Sharri Berg, who was appointed by Ailes to bring production synergies between FNC and the News Corp.’s local stations.
“I look forward to working for Jack Abernethy to build the Fox stations to their full potential,” he said.
Swanson, who was passed over for the stations prexy job at Viacom, is the second CBS executive to jump to Fox in a week. On Monday, WCBS general manager Lew Leone jumped to Fox to head up its flagship New York station, WNYW Fox 5, as well as its UPN affiliate, WWOR.
Swanson, along with Viacom sales chief Tom Kane and former DirecTV prexy Mitch Stern, was a candidate to head Viacom’s station group, a position held by Fred Reynolds until he was tapped to become chief financial officer of the new CBS Corp. after the split with Viacom. But the station’s prexy job was filled by Kane.
Swanson had served as COO of Viacom’s 40 owned stations; he was previously president and general manager of WNBC-TV in New York and prexy of ABC News Sports 1986-96. A longtime local TV exec, Swanson was g.m. of ABC’s WLS-TV in Chicago and gave Oprah Winfrey her first daytime talkshow.