Comedy Central Announces Exec Shifts In Programming, Fan Outreach

by , Oct 14, 2013, 3:43 PM
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Drunk HistoryAs part of a broader effort to meld media channels, Comedy Central announced several executive shifts on Monday.

David Bernath, executive vice president of programming and multiplatform strategy, will now lead all programming for the Viacom unit, while Walter Levitt, Comedy Central’s chief marketing officer, will be responsible for the brand’s fan outreach across all platforms.

Discussing the changes on Monday, Bernath said Comedy Central was simply following viewers' lead. “Users don’t distinguish between [platforms] anymore,” he said. “They just expect it to all make sense. Lots of digital platforms operate independently of the network, like Hulu and other Web sites,” Bernath added. “These things need to [have] a singular point of view.”

As for advertisers, Bernath said the changes will help create “more aligned” experiences, and drive viewership. The ultimate plan is to “facilitate larger digital buys,” he said. Both Bernath and Levitt will continue to report to Michele Ganeless, president of Comedy Central.

“We’ve dismantled the department formerly known as ‘digital’ to create an organization that better serves our fans and advertisers,” Ganeless stated. “Our fans don’t use the word ‘digital’ to talk about content and now, neither do we.”

As executive vice president, programming and multiplatform strategy, Bernath has expanded his responsibilities to include oversight for the strategy and programming of Comedy Central content across all platforms -- linear TV, comedycentral.com, VOD, SVOD, mobile and new emerging platforms.

This approach to programming was evident when Comedy Central launched “Drunk History” across multiple platforms before its linear premiere, generating 7 million sample views of the new show and driving what Comedy Central called its most successful summer show launch since 2010.

These appointments follow the announcement earlier this year of Kent Alterman’s promotion to president of content development and original programming. Going forward, Alterman will maintains oversight of all content development for Comedy Central.

Walter Levitt, as chief marketing officer, oversees all parts of strategic and creative marketing for the brand including the recently-formed Fan Engagement team, which is responsible for social and digital marketing.

Also as part of this reorganization, Steve Grimes has been named to the newly created position of senior vice president of multiplatform strategy and development, reporting to Bernath and Erik Flannigan, executive vice president, multiplatform strategy and development, Viacom Entertainment Group.


With the change, Grimes adds multiplatform programming strategy to his previous responsibilities overseeing the Comedy Central digital media team and its initiatives. He is also responsible for app development, having recently launched the CC: Stand-up app.

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