ESPN promotes programming execs


NEW YORK -- ESPN promoted two executives who had already been leading the company's programming unit, and gave one of them responsibility for ESPN Original Entertainment.

John Wildhack and David Berson have each been promoted to the position of executive vp, reporting to executive vp content John Skipper. Berson will be executive vp program planning/development; Wildhack will become executive vp programming/acquisitions.

Wildhack will continue to work on acquisitions of ESPN on ABC and ESPN rights with his new title. Berson will add responsibility for ESPN Original Entertainment as well as continuing oversight of strategic program planning for ESPN and ESPN on ABC. Ron Semaio now reports to Berson. Wildhack had been senior vp programming/acquisitions strategy since a corporate restructuring in October 2005. Berson had been senior vp program planning/development since the same time.

Wildhack has been working at ESPN since 1980, when he joined the channel as a production assistant after graduating from Syracuse University. He produced ESPN's first live college football game in 1984 and its first NFL game in 1987. He was named senior vp remote production in 1993 and became senior vp programming a year later.

Berson became an ESPN programmer in 1994 after he graduated from the University of Michigan. He worked in affiliate sales/marketing and business development from 1996-2001, when he returned to programming as vp program planning and promotion.