T'stone TV Pedowitz's sole focus


After wearing two hats at Touchstone Television and ABC for nearly three years, Mark Pedowitz is relinquishing his responsibilities at ABC to focus solely on his duties as president of the Touchstone TV production unit.

Pedowitz, a 15-year veteran of ABC, will no longer serve as executive vp of ABC Entertainment Television Group. His responsibility for overseeing business affairs functions for ABC Entertainment, ABC Daytime and SoapNet will be assumed by Jana Winograde, executive vp of ABC Entertainment, who has worked under Pedowitz for the past decade.

Pedowitz was promoted to the executive vp post at ABC Entertainment in 1999. He was given the additional responsibility as president of Touchstone in April 2004. Pedowitz had reported to Anne Sweeney, president of Disney-ABC Television Group, in both of his realms. With the shift, Winograde will report to ABC Entertainment president Stephen McPherson and Brian Frons, president of daytime at Disney-ABC Television Group.

The handover of Pedowitz's ABC responsibilities comes as Touchstone TV is in the midst of its most prolific season ever, with 19 series spread among multiple broadcast and cable networks. Pedowitz noted that the studio's production expenditures alone have climbed from about $400 million three years ago to about $1.1 billion this year. Touchstone also has been moving into uncharted production territory with original programming developed for mobile phones, online distribution and other emerging platforms that weren't even a factor when Pedowitz first took on the dual role at ABC and Touchstone.

"This is a good thing. It's a testament to what everyone has built up at the studio," Pedowitz said. "Jana is terrific and well-regarded in the community. … We figured with the new year coming and the studio moving into pilot season, why not make the change now?"

It's no secret in industry circles that Pedowitz and McPherson have butted heads at times on network and studio matters. ABC insiders downplayed the suggestion that Pedowitz's move out of a direct management role at ABC was prompted by strains between the two executives. Winograde already had been handling the lion's share of ABC business affairs responsibilities as Touchstone demanded more and more of Pedowitz's attention, sources said. Industry sources also noted that tension between network and studio executives is par for the course in the high-stakes world of primetime, particularly among networks and studios that share common ownership.

For the Walt Disney Co., sources said the larger concern was that Pedowitz's dual role created an awkward structure for the network and studio units.

Winograde said the significant impact of Pedowitz's shift out of ABC will be to provide "clarity" to the industry about who has the final responsibility for business matters at the network. "It was always clear to us on the inside what our roles were, but it was less clear to people on the outside," she said. "This now gives me the ultimate say and responsibility in the business affairs area. I'm lucky to have been trained by Mark. Nobody could be in a better position than I am now to have had a mentor like him."

Winograde joined ABC in January 1994 as an assistant general attorney, litigation and employment practices. She quickly rose through the ranks and was named director of business affairs and contracts in August 1996. She was most recently upped to executive vp business affairs in February 2005.