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LeMasters to Be CBS President, Entertainment

November 10, 1987|DIANE HAITHMAN | Times Staff Writer

Kim LeMasters, vice president of programs at CBS for the past 19 months, was appointed president of the network's entertainment division Monday.

LeMasters, who will turn 38 next week, replaces B. Donald (Bud) Grant, who resigned from the position Oct. 30 to go into independent production amid rumors that he had been forced out following several seasons of steadily declining prime-time ratings.

In a separate announcement Monday, ABC said that Steven Bochco, co-creator and executive producer of "L.A. Law" and "Hill Street Blues," had entered into an exclusive, long-term agreement with the network to develop and produce 10 TV series over a six-year period.

Bochco's attorney, Frank Rohner, confirmed that Bochco had discussed taking over the position of CBS Entertainment president with network executives several weeks ago, but Bochco and the network agreed that he would be more effective as a program supplier. Bochco's subsequent discussions with CBS about a development contract similar to the ABC deal fell apart, however.

LeMasters' appointment was announced by Gene Jankowski, president of the CBS Broadcast Group, who said in a prepared statement, "We are extremely pleased with the fresh and exciting look Kim has given to our schedule and with his equally impressive development plans. In addition to a unique flair for programming, in his 11 years with CBS, Kim has repeatedly demonstrated outstanding leadership and organizational skills. It is an ideal combination for this vital post."

LeMasters, considered to be the driving force behind some of CBS critically applauded but low-rated new series, including "Beauty and the Beast" and "Frank's Place," was appointed vice president of programs in April, 1986.

Some in the industry had guessed that LeMasters was as likely to be forced out of his position as Grant, since his programming choices in part have been responsible for CBS' poor ratings performance this fall. The network is running third in the prime-time arena so far this season.

A UCLA graduate, LeMasters first joined CBS in July, 1976, as director of dramatic program development. He was named vice president of dramatic program development in 1979, vice president of comedy development in 1980 and vice president of program development in 1981. He left the network in 1984 and worked at Walt Disney Productions, then returned in January, 1985, as vice president of miniseries.

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