After helping make “SpongeBob Squarepants,” “MTV Unplugged” and “The Daily Show” household names, MTV Networks chairman and CEO Judith Ann McGrath is stepping down.
In a statement released Thursday, Viacom announced that McGrath, who was named chairman and CEO of MTV Networks in 2004, will not be replaced, reports The Hollywood Reporter.
“Judy has long been the creative heart and inspiring soul of MTV Networks and has deservedly been associated with so much of the great entertainment, cultural relevance, social significance and business success that have defined our media networks over the years,” Viacom president and CEO Philippe Dauman said. “Her positive and passionate spirit has helped create an organization that is recognized for truly listening to its audiences, not only about their entertainment choices, but also about the social issues and the causes that matter to them most.”
Executives at the company will be reporting to Dauman.
“The people of MTV Networks have always been singularly important to me. Together we have built world-class brands that connect with fans from kid to adulthood, from SpongeBob to Hot In Cleveland, from Unplugged to The Daily Show. We have attracted and nurtured the best talent in the world, and I know that will always be a hallmark of the company,” McGrath said in a statement. “Creatively, financially, all the brands and businesses are in wonderful shape today. I leave with pride, joy and gratitude for the ride of a lifetime. I especially thank my friends and colleagues on the senior team, who will continue to lead a kick-ass organization. They have my respect and affection, always.”
McGrath has been with the company since 1981, when she started as a copy writer.
McGrath was named by Fast Company as one of the top 100 creative people when she helped actor George Clooney lock commitments from ABC, CBS, NBC and more than 20 other networks to broadcast the “Hope For Haiti” telethon. The commercial-free fundraiser collected more than $60 million for victims of the earthquake-ravaged country.
While Dauman said he understands McGrath’s decision to leave, he insisted that the networks are “reaching new creative and ratings milestones.”
“We will all miss Judy enormously, but we respect her decision and understand her desire to leave at the very top of the game with a legacy of success that stretches from the earliest days of cable television to current season highlights,” he said. “The networks under her direction are rapidly expanding to new platforms and reaching new creative and ratings milestones, all under the able guidance of experienced and talented management teams. With a deep executive bench and our popular and growing stable of media network brands, we are confident that Viacom won’t miss a beat and will flourish.”
Larry King thinks his CNN talk show successor Piers Morgan was “oversold” by the network. Although the legendary TV icon thinks the British former tabloid editor is a “fine broadcaster,” he feels that the network should have created such noise for his arrival. King, 77, bowed down as host of “Larry King Live” in December 2010 after 25 years. Morgan made his debut as his heir in January, and has since interviewed high-profile guests such as Oprah Winfrey, Howard Stern, and George Clooney.
The reactions to the new “Piers Morgan Live” host were mixed, and so does King’s. King admits that he wishes CNN did not created such a huge advertising campaign to publicize Morgan as the new host as reason, saying the show “might have been better off starting quietly.”
He said to BBC host Eddie Mair, “I think one of the problems they did was over sell it. He was going to be dangerous, he was going to be water cooler talk.”
“He’s good but not that dangerous. I think they might have been better off starting quietly and that’s not Pier’s fault, or maybe it is, I’m not inside anymore.”
As if trying to soften his criticism, the mellow-talking, suspender-wearing icon added, “He’s certainly not bad. He’s certainly an acceptable host. He asks good questions, maybe he interrupts a little too much at times. I think he may have been oversold.”
George Clooney’s current squeeze should have known that a confirmed bachelor like him will never walk down the aisle again. Elisabetta Canalis has apparently just learned that she will never be Mrs. Clooney while watching George’s interview with Piers Morgan on CNN. Somehow, the news still surprised the Italian actress even though a lot of people already know that George will forever be a bachelor. According to Popeater, when “The American” star told Piers Morgan on Friday that after being married once, he will never do it again, Elisabetta was crushed. A source told, “Elisabetta had no idea he was going to say that. She thought she was going to be the girl who would finally get George to settle down and put a ring on it. She was totally surprised.” Still, George’s current ladylove is determined. The insider added, “If he doesn’t ask her to marry him soon she will ask him. And if he says no, well there are plenty more fish in the ocean.” George was married to actress Talia Balsam from 1989 to 1993.
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