Tribune Co. has named Dana Zimmer head of distribution. (Comcast )
Tribune Co. has tapped Dana Zimmer at Comcast's NBCUniversal unit to be its president of distribution.
Zimmer will oversee relationships between Tribune's television properties and pay-TV distributors including cable operators and satellite broadcasters. Tribune, the parent of the Los Angeles Times, owns 23 television stations including KTLA-TV Los Angeles and the national cable network WGN America.
At NBCUniversal, Zimmer had been executive vice president of TV Networks distribution since 2011. In that role, she handled key negotiations for NBCUniversal cable channels including USA and Bravo as well as NBC's local stations. She's also had stints at the YES Network and SportsNet New York, two of the nation's biggest regional sports networks.
Top priority for Zimmer will be increasing the fees Tribune gets from pay-TV companies for its local stations and WGN. Tribune Chief Executive Peter Liguori has made improving the company's television unit a big objective.
"The goal is to better monetize the TV stations and the cable networks," Zimmer said in an interview. "There is a lot of upside."
In an email to staff, Liguori said Zimmer is "a smart, tough, fair-minded negotiator who will do a great job in maximizing the value of our content and the tremendous distribution and marketing platform provided by our 23 local stations and WGN America."
Tribune's distribution was previously overseen by Kevin Connor, senior vice president of affiliate sales. Connor will now report to Zimmer.
Zimmer is the latest high-profile hire since Liguori became chief executive of Tribune in January. Last month, Tribune Co. named Matt Cherniss, a former Fox and Warner Bros. executive, as president of WGN America and head of a newly formed Tribune Studios, which will produce original content for the company. In February, Tribune named industry veteran Larry Wert its new president of local broadcasting, which gave him oversight of the company's TV stations.
A replacement for Zimmer at NBCUniversal has not been named.
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