MTV President Christina Norman to Leave

End 17 Years at Network; Van Toffler to Interim President

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- MTV President Christina Norman is leaving the company at the end of the month, following 17 years at MTV Networks. She did not announce future plans. Van Toffler, president of MTV Networks Music and Logo Group, will act as interim president of MTV until a replacement has been found.
Christina Norman
Christina Norman

In an internal staff memo, Mr. Toffler said, "It pains me to see Christina go, but I respect her decision to want to take the time to explore something new after 17 years, which is pretty much impossible to even think about while running the M."

Helped launch awards shows
Ms. Norman spent the first 11 years of her career at MTV overseeing the network's on- and off-air promotions and affiliate marketing departments. There, she helped launch and brand the network's "10 spot" programming block as well as various campaigns for the MTV Video Music and Movie Awards shows.

She joined VH1 in 2002 as general manager, and was later promoted to president. Ms. Norman helped deliver VH1 its most-watched year in network history among prime-time and total-day viewing. She also helped create public-affairs efforts such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

In her most recent role as president of MTV, Ms. Norman ushered the formerly music-oriented network into its current branding as a reality-focused destination for youth entertainment. Although it retains its dominance of the 12-24 demographic on ad-supported cable, MTV notably struggled in its overall ratings stronghold in other key demos, particularly during commercials. As a result, MTV Networks' ad sales president, Hank Close, held out for Nielsen's old metric of program ratings in last year's upfront to avoid getting slammed by the more accountable commercial ratings currency.

Commercial-engagement model
Recent network integrated marketing and branded entertainment initiatives with marketers such as Unilever, Procter & Gamble and American Eagle have started to improve MTV's commercial ratings and redefine the network's commercial-engagement model. The network has signed up more for experimental interstitials and short-form programming during commercial breaks and, soon to come, "commercial squeezes," or marketing messages that would along the screen within a program.

Mr. Toffler added in his note, "It has been my great honor to work with Christina and she will always be part of the legend and success of our company. We will miss her and I personally can't wait to see what incredible feat she will conquer next with the same class and tenacity she has exemplified during her many years here."
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