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TORONTO — Before Canadian brand marketing guru Walter Levitt could seal the deal with Comedy Central president Michele Ganeless to become executive vp of marketing at the U.S. comedy network, the two execs had to make amends for that South Park The Movie song “Blame Canada!”
Ganeless is willing to let bygones be bygones. “We’re thrilled to have him (Levitt) bring his talents to Comedy Central and are grateful that he holds no animosity towards the network that helped coin the phrase ‘Blame Canada.’”
And Levitt agrees Americans and Canadians need to put the episode behind them and move on. “On behalf of all the citizens of Canada, I hereby officially pardon the network for that whole ‘Blame Canada’ thing,” the former Canwest Broadcasting chief marketing officer insisted.
And with that, Levitt is set to steer Comedy Central’s strategic and creative brand development, consumer marketing and cross-business initiatives. He’ll report to Ganeless and be based in New York City.
Levitt comes to Comedy Central from Canadian broadcaster Canwest Broadcasting, where he oversaw branding, advertising and primetime programming efforts until the Canadian TV network was acquired by cable giant Shaw Communications and rebranded as Shaw Media.
The Canwest Broadcasting stable TV and digital brands, from the Global Television network to 19 cable channels, including Food Network Canada and HGTV Canada. Levitt’s role also included launching popular U.S. network series like Glee, Prison Break and Rookie Blue.
Ganeless is betting Levitt’s multi-tasking skills will help transform Comedy Central as it branches out from a TV network across an increasingly diverse digital universe. “One of the opportunities is to ensure that the brand is being managed across all those multiple platforms to ensure it is seen by consumers and is delivering a consistent experience,” Levitt explained.
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