(CelebrityAccess News Service) — Nearly a decade after his first stint at Comedy Central began, programming and network-branding guru Doug Herzog will rejoin the all-comedy channel as president, replacing Larry Divney, who will retire. Herzog, who will be based in the network's Los Angeles office, is slated to begin in early May.
During his initial time at the network (July 1995-November 1998), Herzog helped create the Comedy Central brand that is flourishing today. He developed and launched many of the current signature programs, from the award-winning "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" to the long-running "South Park." Herzog is also credited with cult hits like "Win Ben Stein's Money," "Strangers with Candy" and "Viva Variety" (from the creators of the recent network hit, "RENO 911!"). In addition, He was instrumental in launching the network's "Roast" franchise. On his watch, Comedy Central increased its audience for 14 consecutive quarters.
Judy McGrath, MTV Networks Group president said, "With Larry literally heading to the farm, Comedy Central should enjoy a seamless transition back to Doug, since we can skip the presidential training and just get right to the business of arguing over all the things that we've changed since he left. I knew we couldn't replace Divney with Herzog. but we could bookend him with Herzog."
"Seriously, I couldn't be more thrilled about Doug coming in to run Comedy Central," she added. "He is such an excellent creative leader, colleague and champion of original talent and content, and I know that he will, once again, take the network to a whole new level of success. He just has to stop talking about 'Monk' and 'Malcolm in the Middle.'"
Tom Freston, Chairman, MTV Networks said, "Getting Doug Herzog to run Comedy Central is an opportunity that only comes twice in a lifetime. He's the perfect guy to take Comedy Central to new levels of success and hilarity. I look forward to having Doug at our table with his many talents and his fat Rolodex."
"If I had known 'South Park' was going to last this long," said Herzog, "I would have never left in the first place.I love Comedy Central, and I so look forward to, once again, continuing to build a strong brand with limitless potential."
Herzog left Comedy Central in November 1998 to serve as president of entertainment for FOX Broadcasting Company, where he was responsible for all FOX programming, scheduling and marketing. While at FOX, he shepherded "Malcolm in the Middle" and the cult favorite "Action." He was named president of USA Network in March 2001 where his emphasis on original programming produced "Monk" and "The Dead Zone," and such projects as "RUDY: The Rudy Giuliani Story" and the recently-broadcast, "Traffic: The Miniseries."
No stranger to MTV Networks, Herzog spent eleven years at MTV prior to joining Comedy Central. When he left MTV for the all-comedy channel in 1995, he was serving simultaneously as executive vice president of programming for the network and president of MTV Productions. At MTV, he developed and supervised MTV News , "The Real World," "Unplugged" and "Road Rules," as well as the network's signature "MTV Video Music Awards" and "MTV Movie Awards."
Prior to MTV, Herzog served as a segment producer for "Entertainment Tonight" and as an associate producer at Turner Broadcasting System where he began his career with the then newly-launched CNN and SuperStation TBS. – by Bob Grossweiner & Jane Cohen