Hitched, Hatched, Hired

Tracking the industry's celebrations and news.

Judy Freudberg (1949-2012): The Memphis native, who died June 10 of brain cancer in New York, helped bring the lovable Elmo to life as the puppet's co-creator during her nearly 40-year writing career on Sesame Street. Freudberg collected 17 Daytime Emmy Awards for her work on the landmark PBS series and collaborated on its first feature film, Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird (1985). She was 62.

BIRTH

How I Met Your Mother actress Alyson Hannigan and her husband, actor Alexis Denisof, welcomed daughter Keeva Jane Denisof on May 23. Hannigan announced the news June 12. Keeva joins sister Satyana, 3.

CONGRATS

Jane Francis was promoted to executive vp at Fox 21 on June 15.

Penn Schoen Berland hired Jeff Hall as senior vp June 12.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles will honor Viacom and CBS Corp. executive chairman Sumner Redstone on Oct. 26 at the Beverly Hilton.

Evan Scheffel was promoted June 13 to senior vp worldwide pay TV and subscription VOD at Fox Television Distribution.

Liza Burnett Fefferman and Heath Shapiro on June 12 joined new Weinstein Co. multiplatform label Radius-TWC as executive vp publicity and vp marketing and distribution, respectively.

Ilan Astrug was appointed vp acquisitions and Charlotte Raben vp format sales June 13 at Warner Bros. International Television Production.

Holly Beverly joined Relativity Media as senior vp marketing partnerships June 11.

MTV upped Shannon Fitzgerald to senior vp series development and Jessica Zalkind to senior vp talent and series development and named Karen Frank, Christy Spitzer and Tiffany Lea Williams vps series development June 13.

DEATHS

Ann Rutherford, who played Scarlett's younger sister in Gone With the Wind, died June 11 in Beverly Hills. She was 94.

Frances Preston, a former president and CEO of BMI, died June 13 in Nashville of congestive heart failure. She was 83.

Lawrence Barnett, president of the MCA talent agency during the 1960s, died June 11 in Los Angeles. He was 98.

Lillian Gallo, who in the 1970s formed one of the first female producing teams in Hollywood, died June 6 of Alzheimer's at the Motion Picture & Television Fund's retirement home in Woodland Hills. She was 84.

BILL GEDDIE TO BE HONORED AT DAYTIME EMMYS

Barbra Walters will present Bill Geddie -- executive producer on The View as well as The Barbara Walters Special and The 10 Most Fascinating People -- with a Lifetime Achievement Award on June 23 at the Daytime Emmy Awards. Geddie, who began producing Walters' ABC specials in 1988, will be honored for his contributions as a writer, producer and director during a TV career that has spanned more than three decades. "When we began The View in August 1997," says Walters, "we were told it did not have a prayer, and now it's going into its 16th year. It would not have happened without Bill. He's a wonderful writer, a very good producer -- he handles people extremely well. He is imaginative, creative and funny." In all the years they've worked together, Walters doesn't recall having a fight, even when they've disagreed over, say, a guest booking or how to handle a story. "I have enormous respect for Bill," she says. Not that he's perfect. If Geddie has a flaw, it is his utter lack of fashion sense, Walters laughs: "He has bad taste, but he doesn't realize how bad. If it were up to Bill, I would wear jeans and T-shirts every day." -- Marisa Guthrie

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