NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess) — Michael Schwimmer, president, and longtime CEO, of the music-oriented (sort of) television network Fuse Media, has resigned from his position at the company, effective April 12, 2019.
Mr. Schwimmer did not disclose his future plans but said he would announce them shortly.
In the meantime, Mike Roggero, COO/CFO of the company, has been named as the interim CEO.
Schwimmer, who joined Fuse when it rebranded from MuchMusic in 2003, became CEO of the company in 2005. During his tenure, he oversaw the acquisition of Fuse from the Madison Square Garden Company by SiTV Media, which he is a board member of.
He also fostered the company’s 2012 deal with Jennifer Lopez and her Nuyorican Productions that saw Lopez take an equity stake in the platform.
Most recently, he launched Fuse Docs and Fuse Films: series that showcase documentaries and independent films, respectively; created the short-form focused Fuse Content Studio and spearheaded a partnership with Complex Networks; and formed a partnership with UnidosUS, reviving the organization’s ALMA Awards® as its exclusive multiplatform media home.
However, the strategic shift in content does not appear to have been a success and in late 2018, both Comcast and Verizon announced that Fuse would be dropped from Xfinity and Fios on January 1, 2019, citing low viewership and the channel’s shift towards repeats and sitcoms. At the time, Schwimmer claimed that the network was dropped after Comcast was freed from a federal consent decree via the acquisition of NBCUniversal.
“Despite Comcast’s publicly-stated commitment to support diverse and independently operated networks, Comcast has elected to drop Fuse, a multicultural-focused television network, on December 31, after more than a decade of carriage. This decision is both surprising and troubling considering that Fuse met Comcast’s financial demands and no other requirements were ever communicated to us,” he said in a statement provided to Multichannel News.
“A commitment to diversity is an enduring value, not a politically expedient card for Comcast to play until such time as consent decrees or business objectives no longer require it. Comcast’s behavior leading to its decision to drop Fuse reveals an agenda inconsistent with their public statements, giving further credence to the merit of on-going DOJ oversight,” he added.