Doug Herzog takes over MTV, VH-1 in Viacom restructuring

Viacom's Doug Herzog picks up MTV, VH-1 and Logo channels in addition to Comedy Central and Spike

Cable giant Viacom Inc. has restructured its large portfolio of TV channels while expanding the responsibilities of veteran programming executive Doug Herzog.

Herzog now will oversee the MTV, VH-1 and Logo channels in addition to two popular networks that he already runs: Comedy Central and Spike.

Viacom announced the moves Thursday morning, two days after Van Toffler, the longtime president of the MTV and VH-1 channels, said he would be leaving Viacom to start his own independent production company.

Herzog is an accomplished executive with broad support within Viacom and the creative community.

"The role is, in part, a coming home for Doug, who joined MTV in 1984 and rose to become president of MTV productions, and later, president of Comedy Central, where among his notable accomplishments, he launched 'The Daily Show' and 'South Park,'" Viacom Chief Executive Philippe Dauman said in an email to employees that announced the move.

Herzog served as programming president at the Fox network in the late 1990s. He ran the USA network from 2001 to 2004, then he returned to Viacom.

He had been based in Los Angeles. But now, Herzog will spend the bulk of his time at Viacom's New York headquarters, running the newly named Viacom Music and Entertainment Group.

Viacom is in rebuilding mode.

Its main channels have suffered dramatic ratings declines and the loss of key talent. Jon Stewart announced last week that he would be leaving Comedy Central's "Daily Show" later this year. Last year, Stephen Colbert exited his Comedy Central show to take over CBS' late-night franchise after David Letterman retires this year.

As part of the restructuring, Nickelodeon chief Cyma Zarghami picks up the CMT music channel and the TV Land channel, which runs a mix of classic sitcom reruns and original programming.

TV Land previously had been part of Herzog's portfolio, while Toffler ran CMT.

Zarghami's unit will be called the Viacom Kids and Family Group, and include the Nickelodeon channels, including Nick at Nite, TV Land, CMT and CMT Pure Country.

The head of TV Land, Larry Jones, is leaving the company. Jones had been with Viacom for more than 25 years.

"The new groups are an enormous opportunity for us to take advantage of our strong creative teams, to share our expertise, and to promote greater cross marketing and, in some cases, cross channel programming activity," Dauman said in his email to staff.

Twitter: @MegJamesLAT

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