David Levy

Title: President, Sales, Distribution and Sports, Turner

Years in Cable: 25

Education: BS, Syracuse

I Watch TV Mostly: Live

Why Him? Levy and his ad sales team achieved a major goal during the ’10 upfront, earning ad rate parity with broadcasters for Conan. CPM increases for TBS, TNT and truTV were 9-10%, sources say. In April, Levy spearheaded a 14-yr, $10.8bln deal with CBS to share the rights to the NCAA men’s basketball tourney in March ’11; Final Four and title game coverage will alternate between TBS and CBS beginning in ’16.

Digital Dominance: Turner Sports’ expanding digital portfolio features oversight of some 20 Web sites, including many like NASCAR.com, PGA.com and the NBA’s digital destinations that align with Turner’s linear lineup to allow for concerted multi-platform plays. Evidence: on the heels of the March Madness deal, the NCAA tapped Turner Sports to manage and operate its digital portfolio, including NCAA.com through jv NCAA Digital.

The Year Ahead: Conan is off to a great start, excelling in the younger demos so important to TBS. Turner’s linear/Web foray into March Madness should be a slam dunk success.

Most Creative Part of My Job: Developing our digital sports strategy for online and mobile. And putting it in a position to sell it horizontally and vertically.

Motto: People eventually get what they deserve… both good and bad!

Favorite non-Turner TV Show: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia


Amy Banse

Title: Pres, Comcast Interactive Media

Number of Years in Cable: 20

Education: Harvard

I Watch TV Mostly: Online

Why Her? Banse obviously wields enormous power not just at Comcast but industry-wide as she implements the MSO’s authentication strategy, which went out of beta late in ’10. Other distributors that haven’t built authentication sites (or launched swanky apps) are watching closely. After working out kinks during the beta, Comcast now offers an impressive array of nets and shows through its XfinityTV.com site — and the tech works pretty well. Banse’s job is far from over as Comcast integrates NBCU content into its TV Everywhere universe in ’11. And what to do with all the NBCU content on Hulu? Banse faces a busy year.

Padtastic: On Banse’s watch, Comcast in early Nov officially launched its cool iPad app that allows subs to watch authenticated content right on the device, as well as control certain TV functions.

Year Ahead: So far, so good — but so untested. The next year will determine whether Comcast’s bet on authentication and all of its accoutrements pays off in the execution.

In ’11, Cable Will: Break free of the big-screen TV.

Favorite TV Show: Modern Family

Motto: Stay calm and carry on

Favorite City for Biz: San Fran


Joan Gillman

Title: EVP, Time Warner Cable and President, Time Warner Cable Media

Years in Cable: 6

Education: BA, College of the Holy Cross; MA, George Washington U

I Watch TV Mostly: TiVo/Recorded

Why Her?

As Canoe Ventures begins to offer advanced advertising products, cable can thank Gillman for helping get the JV off the ground. Long a champion of interactivity, Gillman serves on numerous boards and foundations, and was named a Woman to Watch by Advertising Age. We’ve watched her for years. And we’re still impressed.

Say What? With Verizon a fierce competitor, heads turned when Gillman brokered a deal to sell regional TV ads in the NYC, LA and Dallas markets on behalf of Verizon FiOS TV. Guess what? The deal’s been a boon for the MSO, which sells across more than 50 nets distributed by FiOS.

Year Ahead: Time Warner Cable is on a tear. And with advanced advertising starting to win converts and prove itself viable, ’11 looks good for Gillman and her sales team.

On Your iPad: Trees are being saved. News apps and lots of documents to read.

How Cable Can Improve Its Image: Tell its story better and continue to bring great products and services to customers.

Biggest Threat to Cable’s Survival: Not keeping up with or meeting the expectations and needs of residential, commercial or advertising customers.

The New Congress Should: Recognize the significant contribution cable (MSOs, networks), suppliers (tech and services) and content creators (writers, producers, actors/actresses) make to our economy. The innovation in connectivity, products, services and storytelling has created one of the most vibrant local/national job machines in the US. Congress should be cautious in considering how new policy ideas could weaken one of its healthy domestic industries.


Steve Schiffman

Title: Pres, Natl Geo Channels

Years in Cable: 13

Education: BA, U of Mass, School of Management, Amherst; MBA, Kellogg Graduate School of Management

I Watch TV Mostly: Live

Steve Burns *

Title: EVP, Content, Natl Geo Channels

Number of Years in Cable: 18

Education: BA, MA, U of AZ

I Watch TV Mostly: On Demand

Why Them? It’s been a big year for the affable Schiffman. Not only did ’10 see him promoted to President, but he oversaw the US launch of Nat Geo Wild, posted ratings gains at Nat Geo and enjoyed the sixth consecutive year with Nat Geo HD as the most-requested HD network. Earlier this year the other Steve, the low-key Burns, was promoted to oversee NGC’s global programming. Kudos to Burns for leading the network’s most ambitious project, Great Migrations. His watch also included the launch of NGC’s highest-rated series to date, Border Wars. The next focus will be on the global growth of the brand and increasing NGC’s digital initiatives.

You Can’t Be Serious: We totally are! During Schiffman’s HS years at NY’s Riverdale, he played tennis against John McEnroe. We didn’t ask who won…Instead of clay under his feet, for Burns it was dirt, as he spent time with as a farmer in AZ, growing cotton, alfalfa, green chiles and milo maize.

Year Ahead: After the pure beauty of Great Migrations, these two should fly high in ’11.


On Your iPad: 10 apps, but I like the Doodle Jump my 9-year-old uses when I get home!

When It Comes To Media Issues, The New Congress Should: Watch more National Geographic Channel.

If I Could Have Dinner With Any Cable Star, It Would Be: Jon Stewart, I like to laugh and get political insights at the same time.

Motto: Feedback is a gift

Best Business Advice: Speak less, listen more


A Non-Cable Co That Knows How To Run/Market Its Biz: Red Bull, it’s been instrumental in sponsorships and has done a great job of marketing its brand.

Most Creative Part of My Job: Budgeting


Steve Bornstein

Title: Pres/CEO, NFL Network; EVP, NFL Media

Education: BS, U of WI, Madison

Why Him? Bornstein in Aug delivered a long-term distribution deal for NFL Net and fan favorite NFL RedZone with NCTC worth nearly 27mln subs. Before that ink was dry Suddenlink signed, as did Cable One. Cox reupped with NFL Net and launched RedZone before the season kicked off and in Oct NRTC struck a carriage pact for both channels. Three games in, NFL Net’s Thursday Night Football is cruising, posting viewer growth and moving on a record-setting pace for the 8-game package.

Opportunist: Always looking to power his nets’ offense, Bornstein found an opportunity during the high-profile Cablevision-Fox spat. When the MSO called for binding arbitration to end the impasse, Bornstein contacted Jim Dolan to see if the pair could go down the same road for carriage of NFL Net. No dice. And NFL still lacks carriage on Cablevision and Charter, but it’s not for a lack of opportunistic trying.

The Year Ahead: Additional carriage would help, but the NFL shield remains a distinguished asset on any platform.


Jacqueline Hernández *

Title: COO, Telemundo

Years in Cable: 7

Education: Cornell AP; BA, English Lit, Tufts; MBA, Marketing, Baruch College ( center)

I Watch TV Mostly: Live

Why Her? Telemundo is serious about giving English-language networks a run for their money. Evidence: a Spanish-language version of Grey’s Anatomy, one of the centerpiece shows in the network’s upfront presentation this year. While original programming has been a key focus for Hernández, the former publishing exec ( People en Español and Teen People) also is known as a sales and marketing guru, specializing in Hispanic consumer behavior. The affable and articulate Hernández is a proponent of research and creating customized programs and solutions for advertisers and cable partners.

Cable Faithful: Hernández predicts cable growth will be strong in ’11, driven largely by more Hispanic viewers.

Year Ahead: Competing against Univision isn’t easy.

My Motto: “When you see a wave come your way…don’t run from it- Dive in and ride it out on top.”
The Most Creative Part of My Job: Differentiating our brands across the board – programming, marketing, positioning and audience composition.
On Your iPad: Telemundo apps, Amazon Kindle, TED, Twitter, Pandora, NY Times, Netflix and Pulse, movies, favorite novella episodes, mun2 news special on The New America.


Joe Uva

Title: Pres/CEO, Univision Communications ( top, right)

Years in Cable: 31

Education: BA, Rhetoric & Communications, SUNY Albany

I Watch TV Mostly: TiVo/Recorded

Cesar Conde

Title: Pres, Univision Nets ( below, right, with Don Francisco)

Number of Years in Cable: 7 (at Univision)

Education: AB, Harvard; MBA, The Wharton School, U of PA

I Watch TV Mostly: Live

Tonia O’Connor

Title: EVP, Distribution Sales and Marketing, Univision

Number of Years in Cable: 16

Education: BS, Newhouse School, Syracuse U

I Watch TV Mostly: On Demand

Why Them? Haven’t you heard? Univision’s 52-week diet of telenovelas and stalwart Sabada Gigante has led to double-digit ratings growth. The net’s inching close to winning 18 to 49 some nights and signed 55 new brands during the upfront. Uva and Conde are known throughout the Hispanic market, and O’Connor’s one of the savviest negotiators in cable.

Big Dreams: The goal is to be the top network overall, not just the #1 Spanish-language network. As one of the few broadcast networks with organic growth, it’s not a pipe dream. Plus, the recently launched Univision Studios is producing more original programming, and Univision also reunited with programming partner Televisa this fall.

Year Ahead: The new Census is expected to show massive growth in the Hispanic population.

Joe Uva

Favorite Non-Univision Show: College Football on ESPN

Most Underrated Drink: Lemonade

Favorite City for Business: NY

Cesar Conde:

On Your iPad: Univision Futbol app

Motto: Dream big. Work hard. Stay humble.

Most Underrated Drink: Vodka soda. Simple and to the point.

Favorite City for Business: Miami

Tonia O’Connor:

On Your iPad: Univision applications, family photos and of course my guilty pleasures (wouldn’t you like know!).

When it Comes to Media Issues, The New Congress Should: Focus on the REAL issues such as unemployment, education and the environment.

Motto: When it comes to managing my career and family – Don’t try for "balance"… "balance" is perfectionism, and no one is perfect. Instead focus on reducing the guilt!


Lynne Costantini

Title: EVP, Affiliate Sales & Marketing Scripps

Years in Cable: 14

Education: BA, Manhattanville College; JD, NY Law School

I Watch TV Mostly: Live

Why Her? As the company’s chief negotiator, Costantini was instrumental in leading affiliate support to convert Fine Living homes into Cooking Channel homes in advance of the new network’s rollout earlier this year. She also spearheaded the company’s tussles with AT&T U-Verse over how shows will be carried online.

The Year Ahead: As a company that pushes the envelope with new media, Scripps may be in for more carriage disputes.

On Your iPad: News and lots of lifestyle apps, and of course, tons of photos of my family.

Non-cable Co that Knows How to Run/Market Its Business: Netflix

Favorite Non-Scripps Show: House


Eileen O’Neill

Title: President/GM, TLC

Years in Cable: 20

Education: BA, Notre Dame; MA, Bowling Green

I Watch TV Mostly: TiVo/Recorded

Why Her? The likeable Discovery veteran — she began as an intern — continued her success with Jon & Kate Plus 8, American Chopper and What Not to Wear. Jon & Kate rode the wave of celebrity gossip to a whopping 10.6mln viewers in June, a record for the show and TLC. Polygamous Sister Wives also pierced the pop culture consciousness.

Tea Time? We don’t think O’Neill is going political, but she’s counting on the Tea Party to draw viewers to reality series Sarah Palin’s Alaska. Early ratings are through the roof, but will Mama Grizzly’s numbers last?

Year Ahead: TLC continues to churn out the hits.

Biggest Threat to Cable’s Survival: Bad programming

What Should Cable Do to Improve its Image? Give a month of cable free of charge to subscribers of three years.

Most Creative Part of My Job: Pranking Clark Bunting

Motto: No guts no glory

Best Biz Book: Good to Great

Best Biz Advice: Stay wood (from Pinocchio)

Most Underrated Drink: Milk

Favorite Cities for Business: Wherever my team is, usually Silver Spring, LA, Atlanta or NY.

59 | The CHEF

Brooke Johnson

Title: Pres, Food Network/Food Category Team Leader (far left)

Number of Years in Cable: 17

Education: BA, Northwestern; MSJ, Medill School of Journalism

I Watch TV Mostly: Live

Why Her? In a sign of how vital Johnson’s role is in the Scripps portfolio, late this year she was elevated from President of Food Network to also oversee the entire food category, which includes The Cooking Channel and various online extensions. Her industry profile rose when WICT named her its ’10 Woman of the Year.

Dessert: The audience for Cooking Channel is up 100% in total day viewing over last year when it was Fine Living.

The Year Ahead: Like a good soufflé, ratings will keep rising at Scripps’ food properties. In Q3 Food’s reached an all-time high.

On Your iPad: Food Network In the Kitchen app, NY Times app, Texas Hold ’Em

3DTV is: Unlikely to happen broadly anytime soon

Best Biz Book: Built to Last


Bob Wilson

Title: SVP, Programming, Cox Communications

Years in Cable: 31

Education: BS, Lehigh; MBA, Georgia State

I Watch TV Mostly: Live

Why Him? Even though Wilson’s Cox band keeps beating ours at The Cable Show’s Battle of the Bands, we’re still obligated to list him here. Not only does he wield tremendous power in the industry, he also has done some pretty innovative things this year. Cox became the first cable operator to launch In Demand’s HD VOD movie service Vutopia, which includes an online component with hundreds of titles. In a similar vein, Cox stepped up as the first cable op to sign with Epix and its online library. Wilson seems pretty serious about anytime, anywhere.

Fox in a Box on Cox: Wilson continued to expand Cox’s My Primetime VOD lineup, including adding this year Fox Broadcast content — a VOD first for the network.

The Year Ahead: Operator and programmer negotiations are getting tougher and tougher.

On Your iPad: Dust — haven’t yet found the killer app to abandon Kindle for my newspaper and book reading.

3DTV Is: 1/5 consumer demand, 4/5 CE hype

Biggest Threat to Cable’s Survival: Regulatory interference that prevents ISPs from pricing HSI service commensurate with value and use.

On Foursquare I Want to be Mayor of: I’ll get back to you after I ask my daughters what Foursquare is.


Frances Berwick

Title: President, Bravo Media

Years in Cable: 14

Ed: MA, Edinburgh U

I Mostly Watch TV: Live, TiVo/Recorded

Why Her? Under Berwick’s aegis as GM, Bravo’s roster of original programming grew 33%, total revenue increased more than 30% and she oversaw the roll out of consumer brand extensions, ranging from The Real Housewives franchise book to the Fashion by Bravo clothing line. These and more garnered Berwick a well-earned promotion to President earlier this year.

Making It Work: One of Bravo’s longest-tenured employees, Berwick joined in ’96 from Britain’s Channel 4 and had a hand in developing Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, the series that began all the Bravo buzz.

Year Ahead: All the hair pulling on this season of The Real Housewives of New Jersey was fun, but will it eventually turn off Bravo’s upscale target demo? Time will tell.

On Your iPad: A lot of kids’ games and news apps

3DTV is: Great for event TV

In ’11, Cable Will: Come up with more mold-breaking content that taps into the zeitgeist and gets people engaged.

Biggest Threat to Cable’s Survival: Not adapting fast enough to behavioral patterns and viewer demand.

Dinner Party With Cable Stars: Chelsea Handler, Keith Olbermann, Patti Stanger, Jeff Lewis, Tori Spelling, Joel McHale and Andy Cohen

My Goal on Foursquare Is to Be Mayor of: Colicchio & Sons


David Preschlack

Title: EVP, Affiliate Sales and Marketing, Disney & ESPN Media Networks Group

Years in Cable: 15

Education: BA, Econ, Denison U

I Watch TV Mostly: Live

Why Him? It’s been a meteoric rise for this young, down-to-Earth father of 4 and disciple of ESPN affiliate guru Sean Bratches. His oversight of affiliate sales for Disney and ESPN nets has him in the cross hairs of countless deals, including the big one with Time Warner Cable in Sept. The diehard Cubs’ fan [poor soul] has helped ESPN3.com — the net’s live online global sports broadband network — grow from 17mln to 60mln homes in just three years.

The Year Ahead: With ESPN coming off of its 30 th anniversary, Preschlack seems poised to go higher.

3DTV is: A good example of the industry pushing the limits in the name of innovation.

Biggest Threat to Cable’s Survival: Not bringing compelling advanced products and services to the marketplace that extend across all platforms.

Most Creative Part of My Job: Trying to figure out where the business is going and how to best position the Disney and ESPN Media Networks for when it does.

Favorite Non-ESPN Show: The Office

Best Business Advice: Focus on what’s right, not who’s right (from my Dad)

Most Underrated Drink: Water

Favorite City for Business: Chicago, nothing beats my home town


Stuart Snyder *

Title: Pres/COO, Turner Broadcasting System’s Animation, Young Adults & Kids Media Div ( below, right)

Years in Cable: 3.5

Education: BS, SUNY Albany

I Watch TV Mostly: TiVo/Recorded

Michael Wright *

Title: EVP, Head of Programming, TNT, TBS, Turner Classic Movies (right)

Education: BA, UCLA

Why Them? It’s tempting to sum up Wright’s year with the word Conan. But that would obscure the clever mating of The Closer with Rizzoli & Isles in July, which helped the latter to a cable drama premiere record of 7.6mln viewers. We should also mention The Closer star, Kyra Sedgwick, pulled down an Emmy. Snyder’s year featured strong ratings (double-digit ratings and delivery growth for Cartoon and Adult Swim in Q1 and 2) and Emmys (8 nominations, 4 wins).

Yes We Can: A diehard NY Mets fan [we empathize], Snyder’s considerable memorabilia collection includes RC-Cola cans from the ’70s produced as a promotion for the team.

Year Ahead: Much of the year will depend on Conan and whether Wright can top summer ’10’s Rizzoli & Isles success with next summer’s Spielberg-produced drama Falling Skies.

Stuart Snyder
On Your iPad: Let me confess that I’m addicted to the iPad.  I read books, watch movies & TV shows, listen to music, send e-mail, explore new sites, conduct informal research—if I could take it into the shower with me, I would.  I have more than 100 apps, covering multiple news sites (CNN, PEOPLE, Huffington Post, TMZ, etc.), FaceBook, Twitter, iTranslate, various restaurant guides, DC Comics, my music library…you name it.   
3DTV is: An exciting development but still in the exploration stage.  It’s a great opportunity…with a thousand questions attached to it.
Biggest Threat to Cable’s Survival:  The failure to continue to remind and persuade consumers what a great value cable is!  
What Cable Should Do To Improve Its Image: Now more than ever, cable needs a campaign or initiative to ensure consumers know the fantastic product that is cable and the value of “choice.”  What cable delivers to the home—highly diversified content—is absolutely amazing: movies, sports, kids, dramas, history, education, shopping…the list goes on and on.  Second, consumer expectation is greater than ever regarding customer service.  This has to become a #1 priority.  Cable needs to be at the top of its game. Wouldn’t it be incredible if consumers were routinely saying, “I love my cable company!”  
A Non-Cable Company That Knows How To Run/Market Its Business:  Apple, because they continually innovate and are perceived as having a great shopping experience and attention to customer detail.
If I Could Have Dinner With A Cable TV Star, It Would Be: Jon Stewart and/or Bill Maher, and for the same reasons: the evening would offer great wit and an interesting introspection about society.
Most Creative Part of My Job: Driving my senior leadership team crazy when I weigh in on various creative projects!
Favorite Non-Turner Shows: Entourage (long-term) and Justified (new show)
  Mottos: I don’t necessarily have only one motto, but I do have key core beliefs:
      First, treat everyone with mutual respect and as you would like to be treated.  This includes setting expectations, empowering the team and holding folks accountable.  
·       Next, do something that you love and do it to the best of your ability.
·       Hire people smarter than you in their respective roles, and then listen more than you speak.
·       Finally, have a good sense of humor.  Life and careers are serious enough; you should go through both with a healthy dose of humor to get you through the tough times.
Best Business Book: Tough to narrow down to one, so I’ll share the most recent title I’ve enjoyed, The Mentor Leader by Tony Dungy.  
Most Underrated Drink: Diet Coke
Favorite City for Business:  What can I say? I love my hometown, New York!


Laureen Ong

Title: President, Travel Channel

Number of Years in Cable: 15

Education: BA, Montclair State; MA, Columbia U

I Watch TV Mostly: On demand

Why Her? Now officially part of Scripps Nets, Travel boasted a revenue spike of 14% in Q3 and the network has expanded its roster of advertisers. So why are the chattering classes wondering what the likeable Ong has in mind for Travel’s slate, whose most recognizable talent are foodies Bourdain, Zimmern and prolific eater Adam Richman? Will the former Nat Geo Channel chief institute tweaks or full-scale changes?

Ratings and Rates: Travel Channel increased its ad rates during the upfront and turned in its highest Q3 prime ratings in the network’s history.

Year Ahead: Everything seems to be in motion for a good ’11, but will Travel change its winning formula?

On Your iPad: News and lifestyle-related apps

The Most Creative Part Of My Job is: Putting together great teams.

Favorite City for Business: Hong Kong


Mike Kelly

Title: Chairman/CEO, The Weather Channel Companies

Years in Cable: 1

Education: BA, U of Illinois

I Watch TV Mostly: Live

Why Him? A newcomer to cable, Kelly quickly transformed The Weather Channel Companies, breaking down business silos and melding separate P&L divisions. An avid fisherman, he has brought new thinking and a new management team to Weather, but he seems to understand the importance of honoring the iconic brand.

The Year Ahead: Kelly knows he needs to continue to grow The Weather Channel beyond TV. He’s off to a strong start with Weather being the third-most downloaded app on smart phones, behind FaceBook and Google Maps. And Weather is lead publisher of ORMMA, an effort to create ad standards for rich media on mobile advertising. Accordingly, Category 5, a cross-platform ad exchange for its digital properties, offers transparency to advertisers.

On Your iPad: The Weather Channel app, iBooks, Time Magazine, The NY Times, OpenTable, Trip Advisor, TED.

Motto: Don’t expect to grow if you don’t change.

Best Business Book: The Goal by Eliyahu M. Goldratt

Best Business Advice: Delegate


Burton Jablin

Title: President, Home Category, Scripps

Years in Cable: 16

Education: BA, Harvard

I Watch TV Mostly: Live

Jim Samples

Title: President, HGTV

Years in Cable: 17

Education: BS, Biology, Presbyterian College; MBA, U of SC

I Watch TV Mostly: TiVo/Recorded

Why Them? The housing crunch seems to have benefited HGTV as the net had a 15-year audience high in ’09. But give Samples and Jablin credit. Both avid travelers, they broadened programming accordingly and introduced retail partnerships and licensing to extend the HGTV experience directly into viewers’ er, homes and gardens. Jablin is well placed to oversee DIY, HGTV and related businesses as the veteran Scripps nets hand helped launch HGTV in ’94.

Flagship Network: HGTV saw strong total day ratings 3Q, tying a record, while HGTV.com traffic surged after a redesign.

Year Ahead: Samples and Jablin plan to add diverse on-screen talent at HGTV.

Burton Jablin

What Cable Should Do to Improve its Public Image: Provide better customer service

A Non-Cable Co That Knows How To Run/Market Its Business: Procter & Gamble

Fave Non-Scripps Show: 30 Rock

Jim Samples

On Your iPad: Thousands of travel and family photos, obscure music, HGTV to Go, dozens of my daughters’ games, Art Authority, Star Walk

The Biggest Threat to Cable’s Survival: Failure to innovate fast enough

Favorite Non-Scripps Show: Glee

The Daily


GCI Eyes Bethel Expansion

GCI and Tribal health organization Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation have plans to apply for a $53 million NTIA grant for a project that would bring fiber internet to Bethel, Alaska. The project, to be

Read the Full Issue
The Skinny is delivered on Tuesday and focuses on the cable profession. You'll stay in the know on the headlines, topics and special issues you value most. Sign Up


Sep 10
Most Powerful Women – 2021 Nominations Due: Sept 10, 2021
Dec 7
Most Powerful Women CelebrationSave the Date!
Full Calendar


Seeking an INDUSTRY JOB?

Hiring? In conjunction with our sister brand, Cynopsis, we are offering hiring managers a deep pool of media-savvy, skilled candidates at a range of experience levels and sectors, The result will be an even more robust industry job board, to help both employers and job seekers.

Contact John@cynopsis.com for more information.