Mark Pedowitz to Take Reins at the CW Network

ABC Veteran to Push 'Gossip Girl' and Other Young-Skewing Content

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Mark Pedowitz
Mark Pedowitz

Mark Pedowitz, a veteran TV-business executive who spent a long part of his career at Walt Disney's ABC, has been named president of the CW network, making him the top operator at the joint-venture owned by CBS Corp. and Time Warner Inc. Meanwhile, the network's top entertainment executive, Dawn Ostroff, who has built a buzzy lineup of shows including "Gossip Girl," "90210" and "Vampire Diaries" will leave at the end of the broadcast season in May to relocate with her family.

Mr. Pedowitz, who had been running an independent production shop in recent years, may best be known to Hollywood-philes as the former president of ABC Studios, where he supervised production of such programs as as "Lost," "Desperate Housewives," "Grey's Anatomy," "Ugly Betty," "Scrubs," "Army Wives," "Ghost Whisperer" and "Criminal Minds." He will have a much broader portfolio of responsiblity at the CW network, however, overseeing programming, sales, marketing, distribution, finance, research and publicity. He will report to the CW's board of directors.

Mr. Pedowitz joins the network at an interesting time. CW's programs are some of the lowest-rated in broadcast television, and yet some of the most buzzed-about among the younger consumers advertisers often covet. To boost its business credibility, the network has been selling joint packages of both TV and online inventory, the better to count viewers who watch its offerings via digital means.

Unlike the other broadcast networks, CW only shows two hours of prime-time programming per weekday and does not show original programming on weekends. As such, its annual ad revenue is surpassed by cable and other rivals, including Spanish-language network Univision, Walt Disney's ESPN and NBC Universal's USA.

CW captured approximately $613.2 million in ad revenue in 2010, according to Kantar Media, compared with approximately $590.5 million in 2009. The figures represent an increase of about 3.8%.

To bolster the network after Ms. Ostroff decamps, Thom Sherman, an exec-VP of drama development at the network, is expected to take a broader programming role. John Maatta, the network's chief operating officer, will report to Mr. Pedowitz. Rick Haskins, who has supervised the marketing of CW's shows for several seasons, and devised eyebrow-raising promotions for "Gossip Girl," "Vampire Diaries" and others, has decided to leave. He has had strong professional ties to Ms. Ostroff for many years.

Prior to being named president of ABC Studios in 2004, Mr. Pedowitz was exec-VP of the ABC Entertainment Television Group. In that role, he supervised all business, legal and financial affairs for ABC Primetime and Touchstone Television, as well as business and legal affairs for ABC Daytime. He joined ABC in 1991 as senior VP-business affairs and contracts.

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