Executive Departs As UPN Gets Closer With CBS

By Lisa
December 10, 2001 - 11:34 PM

Kerry McCluggage, the man in charge of Enterprise network UPN as President of Television Programming at Paramount, is to leave the network, announced parent company Viacom on Monday.

He is to leave his post as President of Television Programming at the end of January, when Viacom will merge UPN with its CBS Television Unit. The company stated that CBS and UPN will remain separate identities but will report to the same chief executive - CBS's Leslie Moonves.

McCluggage joined Paramount in 1991 from Universal, where he helped develop hit shows like Murder, She Wrote, Miami Vice and The A Team. At Paramount he was responsible for launching UPN onto the airwaves in 1995. The first program shown on the network was Star Trek: Voyager.

He remained a key figure in shaping the network through its absorption by Viacom. Enterprise captain Scott Bakula (Jonathan Archer) named McCluggage's involvement with the show as one of the reasons he was so thrilled to be on board (story).

The move by Viacom to restructure their television operations into one unit comes as little surprise. With the recent economic downturn and resulting lack of advertising income, streamlining and efficiency have become current media industry buzzwords.

Ironically, McCluggage was best known for finding new ways to expand operations - developing a valuable deal with Proctor and Gamble and NBC for comedy and dramas.

"Today's announcement is the culmination of a process that began with the merger of Viacom and CBS and realises an important opportunity to bring new efficiencies to the broadcast business, while maintaining the distinct voices of CBS and UPN as leaders in free, over-the-air broadcasting," said Viacom President Mel Karmazin. More details about the UPN/CBS integration are expected in the coming weeks.

More information can be found in this Reuters article.

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