New TV venture eyes CEO

Showtime vet said to be top choice

Related: New Viacom net spurs intrigue

It looks like a former Showtime Networks executive will be taking the reins of Viacom's new premium TV channel and VOD service launching in fall 2009. Mark Greenberg, a 17-year Showtime veteran who left in March 2006, is expected to be named CEO of the new venture, sources said.

The news, first speculated on in Business Week, comes two days after Viacom announced the launch of the startup company by its Paramount Pictures unit, MGM and Lionsgate. Immediately after the announcement, observers had raised doubts about how real the new venture is. The swift hire of a top executive signals the venture partners' intention to get the new channel up and running quickly.

Greenberg's hire also would add another wrinkle to the ongoing rivalry between Viacom and CBS Corp., which owns Showtime. Viacom declined comment Tuesday. Greenberg had risen through the ranks to become executive vp at Showtime, where he had overseen such areas as sales, affiliate marketing and direct-to-home services as well as the company's boxing programming. Before that, he was at HBO.
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