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Prime Ticket’s John Severino Announces His Retirement

TIMES STAFF WRITER

John Severino, president of the Prime Ticket regional cable sports network the past four years, announced his retirement Friday.

Severino, 55, who was with ABC for 23 years before joining Prime Ticket, said he plans to travel and generally take life easy.

Roger Werner, 42, president of Bill Daniels-owned Prime Sports Ventures, a sister company, will take over as acting president of Prime Ticket.

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The move will be an easy one for Werner because his office is adjacent to Severino’s at Prime Ticket’s Century City headquarters. Werner was formerly president of ESPN.

Prime Ticket was launched in October, 1985, by Bill Daniels and Jerry Buss, who were 50-50 partners, and Tony Acone was named the company’s first president.

In 1988, Daniels bought out all but 15% of Buss’ share, and shortly after that hired Severino, who was then general manager of KABC-TV and had previously served as president of the ABC network.

Severino was given a series of two-year contracts, a salary reportedly in the $500,000-a-year range and 5% of the company.

Severino will remain involved with Prime Ticket as a consultant.

“This has been a great job,” he said. “We’ve accomplished a lot. We started ‘Press Box,’ which I think is as fine a sports news program as you’ll find on any network or at any station.

“It’s been a terrific four-year run. For 3 1/2 years, I found this job challenging and exciting. But then it started getting a little repetitive and not as challenging.

“The thought of every day being like Sunday began to appeal to me. We’ll see if I like it. I may not. But I’m going to give it a try.”

Of Severino’s tenure at Prime Ticket, Daniels said: “John has increased ad sales revenue by 600% and doubled on-air programming hours. We wish him the very best.”

Werner said Prime Ticket will remain aggressive in acquiring new programming, and plans are in the works to become a 24-hour network eventually.


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