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Comedy Central Names Program Chief

November 18, 1998

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ With cable channels steadily draining viewers from broadcast television, Fox raided one of those rivals for its new programming chief.

Doug Herzog, 39, the Comedy Central president and chief executive officer who developed the trademark show ``South Park″ for the cable channel, will become Fox’s entertainment president in January, the network announced Tuesday.

He will assume the duties of Peter Roth, the Fox Entertainment Group president who resigned Monday, according to David Hill, chairman and chief executive officer of Fox Broadcasting Co.

``There’s clearly a sea change about,″ Herzog said. ``If you’re going to hire guys like me and Scott Sassa, we wouldn’t necessarily be categorized as the usual suspects.″

Sassa, who managed entertainment at TBS, TNT, the Cartoon Network and other networks in Ted Turner’s cable empire, was named NBC entertainment president on Oct. 26, replacing NBC veteran Warren Littlefield.

Herzog acknowledged that the raunchy comedy of ``South Park″ may not translate directly to broadcast television but said Fox must respond to a changing TV environment with more choices.

``The audience clearly wants the boundaries pushed,″ he said. ``Look at the stuff that’s succeeding out there.″

Herzog, lauding such Fox shows as ``The Simpsons″ and ``The X-Files,″ said Fox has established itself for giving viewers something ``truly different.″

But age appears to be taking a toll on viewership of ``The X-Files″ and other Fox series. Younger viewers are defecting to upstarts like broadcast network WB.

``And, if I may say so myself, Comedy Central,″ added Herzog.

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