Bob Cook, president of Twentieth Television, the syndication and distribution arm for News Corp.’s broadcast and cable operations, is leaving the company, a Fox Spokesperson confirms with TVBR: “Bob has decided to resign and he will be starting his own company—MBN, Inc. He will be helping to develop digital platforms for production companies, including Twentieth.”
Although no replacement for Cook has been named yet, an LA Times story speculated that Greg Meidel, who currently runs News Corp.’s My Network TV, will get oversight of Twentieth Television as well. Meidel ran the unit in the mid-1990s before leaving for stints at Universal and Paramount.
However, the spokesperson tells us that is a stretch: “Actually, nobody has been named yet, and the company is doing searches both internally and externally.”
Said the LA Times story: “[Meidel] will have his work cut out for him. The Wild West heyday of the TV syndication business, where deals would be done on the golf links and in the bar, are long gone. Cable networks, which used to gobble up old episodes of dramas like “NYPD Blue” that first aired on the broadcast networks, now prefer to produce their own shows. Local TV stations no longer cough up the big bucks for sitcom reruns and talks shows, and the ad market is in the tank.”
Cook’s contract reportedly does not run out until November, so he will help with the transition. Cook has been with Twentieth since 2000.