Tom Zappala, a TV industry veteran with over 30 years of programming and production leadership experience under his belt, has been tapped as the head of programming for Scripps’ national networks business. Effective Jan. 25, Zappala will be responsible for developing and executing new programming strategies at the nation’s fourth-largest local TV broadcaster and will report directly to CEO and head of entertainment Jonathan Katz.

“Tom is one of the most versatile and creative programmers in the media business today, on any platform,” Katz said in a statement. “His breadth of experience makes him exceptionally qualified to lead our programming efforts as we bring our national networks businesses together. I’ve always envied the companies that were lucky enough to leverage Tom’s talents, and now I’m thrilled that he’s part of our team.” Some of those entertainment giants in Zappala’s résumé include serving as the executive vice president of programming at both Viacom Media Networks and The Walt Disney Company. Before joining Disney in 2003, Zappala directed all programming and research operations for CBS’ TV stations as senior vice president.

Most recently, Zappala was the senior vice president of programming and scheduling at MGM Global Networks for one year, where he negotiated and acquired third-party product support for program initiatives and stunts, led digital scheduling functions and facilitated renewal discussions with digital partners, among other achievements.

After the Cincinnati-based broadcasting company acquired Ion Media for $2.65 billion, Scripps has been building up its leadership ranks for its evolving national networks business In addition to Zappala’s appointment, recent hirings include Katz, Jeffery Wolf as chief distribution officer, Mark Gray as head of network and station operations, and Robin Davis as vice president, strategy and planning.