New UPN Entertainment President Chosen

By Christian
January 23, 2002 - 6:58 PM

Viacom was reported today to have hired Dawn Tarnofsky-Ornoff as entertainment president of the UPN television network.

Although UPN declined to comment to Variety, the trade paper reported Tarnofsky-Ornoff's appointment could be announced as early as today.

The new executive comes to UPN from the Lifetime cable network, where she was in charge of programming and launched shows such as Any Day Now, Strong Medicine and The Division. The hiring of Tarnofsky-Ornoff could mean that UPN is beginning to shift away a bit from its testosterone-charged image as a male-focused network.

Tarnofsky-Ornoff will fill the void left when UPN's former entertainment president, Tom Nunan, quit in June (story). In name, she will also take over the position of former UPN CEO Dean Valentine, but as the network has been integrated with corporate sibling CBS Tarnofsky-Ornoff will report to CBS president Les Moonves.

Meanwhile, several other stories related to Viacom and UPN surfaced over the past few days:

  • According to a report in the New York Times, there are strong tensions between Viacom CEO Summer Redstone and the company's president, Mel Karmazin. Viacom stock has not fared well under speculation that Karmazin might be leaving the network. Even though both Redstone and Karmazin denied they did not get along well, disagreements between the management duo continue to surface.

  • USA Today writer Robert Bianco reported that UPN's new management seems far from enthusiastic about the midseason series the old regime developed, and warned that sitcoms such as As If and The Random Years might not even make it to the network's schedule.

  • Novelist Brad Meltzer and writer Steve Cohen are developing a new drama series for UPN called Sweet Chariot. The show will follow a cab service in Washington D.C. The original story on this can be found here.

More on the Tarnofsky-Ornoff appointment can be found in the original report at Variety. Thanks go out to Shaun Turner for part of this!

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