PBS has appointed Jonathan Barzilay, a TV-industry veteran who has spent substantial time in both kids’ TV and the non-profit world, as the network’s chief operating officer. He will start March 25 and report to Paula Kerger, president and chief executive officer of PBS.
Barzilay joins PBS from the Ford Foundation, where he served as director, freedom of expression, managing the nonprofit grant-making organization’s global programs in media, arts and culture. He directed the foundation’s work in support of public-service journalism, innovative business models for news programming, and press freedom, as well as support for artists and cultural institutions in diverse communities across the U.S.
Before coming to the Ford Foundation, Barzilay served as senior VP and head of content at Qualcomm’s mobile television service, FLO TV, where he was responsible for leading programming, content acquisition and development, and consumer research. Prior to that, he was senior VP-general manager at CBS Interactive, where he was responsible for all operations at the CBS.com and StarTrek.com websites, including the development of original online series and the launch of an online video player.
Previously, Barzilay was senior VP at Disney/ABC Cable Networks and general manager at Toon Disney and ABC Kids. In that role, he oversaw all operations at cable network Toon Disney and the ABC Kids children’s programming lineup on ABC-TV, including programming, marketing, business and operations. During the course of his 15-year career at Disney/ABC, he held numerous management posts, including VP-general manager, ABC children’s programming; and VP, ABC Television Network Group. As a member of ABC’s legal department, he counseled ABC News and ABC Broadcasting on legal and regulatory matters.
Barzilay began his career as an attorney in private practice in New York, focusing on entertainment law and First Amendment issues. He received his A.B. from Harvard University and his J.D. from Columbia University School of Law.