ABC taps programming executive to head its entertainment division

December 16, 1992|By Newsday

ABC Monday named Ted Harbert the new president of its entertainment division, replacing Bob Iger, who becomes president of ABC Television at the beginning of the year.

Mr. Harbert, currently executive vice president of prime-time programming for ABC, will be charged with running the network's prime-time operations; news, sports, daytime, late night and morning programming each have their own divisional heads who will also report to Mr. Iger.

By selecting Mr. Harbert, who has spent virtually his entire career at the network, ABC has sent a clear signal to the entertainment community that there will be no unexpected strategic changes, at least in the immediate future.

Mr. Harbert has been Mr. Iger's key lieutenant since 1989, as well as a primary architect of each ABC fall schedule since that time. "Bob and I really do share similar instincts about both management and programming," Mr. Harbert, 37, said Monday. "But everyone brings who they are to the job, and the fact that I've been part of the entertainment [division] for close to 16 years has to result in something different. My familiarity with the trench warfare [in network programming] will have some effect on how I do the job."

Indeed, Mr. Harbert, who spent most of his years at the network as its scheduling guru, has a reputation for being both a numbers cruncher and a consummate insider who has forged some close relations within the entertainment industry. Mr. Iger, who spent most of his ABC career in sports, came to Hollywood as an outsider, and was said to be uncomfortable at times with the town's fast-talking deal-makers.

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