Coca-Cola Co. said Monday that it has regrouped three television companies under a newly formed organization called Coca-Cola Television and appointed Frank J. Biondi Jr. as the new unit's chairman and chief executive.
The new company encompasses Columbia Pictures Television, Embassy Communications and Merv Griffin Enterprises. Through its various holdings, Coca-Cola distributes more off-network television shows than any other company in the industry.
Biondi, 41, has served as an executive vice president of Coca-Cola's entertainment business sector since January, 1985. For the six preceding years, Biondi was an executive at Time Inc.'s Home Box Office, the nation's largest pay-TV company. Biondi served as HBO's chairman and chief executive before departing in 1984.
Coca-Cola Television said it will operate four divisions. Columbia/Embassy Television is charged with creating network programming and the syndication of off-network programming, under Gary Lieberthal, currently chairman and chief executive of Embassy Communications. A second division, called Coca-Cola Telecommunications, will be headed by Herman Rush, currently president of Columbia Pictures Television Group. The unit will concentrate on newer markets, such as home shopping and pay television.
A third division, Merv Griffin Enterprises, will continue to produce programming for network broadcast and first-run syndication under its chairman, Merv Griffin.
The fourth division, Coca-Cola Television Operations, will handle business affairs, finance, administration and planning. The unit will be headed by Brian McGrath, currently executive vice president of Columbia Pictures International Corp.