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Tribune hires WB's Matt Cherniss to ramp up TV production

March 19, 2013|By Meg James
  • Tribune Co. has hired Matt Cherniss, a former Fox and Warner Bros. executive, to be president of WGN America and head of a newly formed Tribune Studios.
Tribune Co. has hired Matt Cherniss, a former Fox and Warner Bros. executive,… (Matt Cherniss )

In an effort to kick-start original television production, Tribune Co. has hired Matt Cherniss, a former Fox and Warner Bros. executive, as president of WGN America and head of a newly formed Tribune Studios.  

Cherniss will be responsible for strategy and day-to-day operations at both properties. He will spearhead efforts to create original content for Tribune's 23 television stations as well as cable channel WGN America.

Tribune is seeking to establish a beachhead in Hollywood. The Chicago-based newspaper and television company, which exited bankruptcy production on Dec. 31 after four years, plans to focus on rebuilding its  television properties. 

Cherniss, 40, will report to Tribune's chief executive Peter Liguori. He will be based in Los Angeles.

“Matt is known within the creative community for his incredible eye for high-quality, commercial programming, as well as his integrity as a partner and a programmer,” Liguori said in a statement.

Liguori said that Tribune Studios would develop "original content that we own or co-own” to increase the value of WGN America and Tribune's local TV stations, which include KTLA-TV Channel 5 in Los Angeles.     

Cherniss had been working as a senior vice president of production for Warner Bros. He joined the Burbank studio two years ago and was involved in the development of such movies as “300: Rise of an Empire" and the Steve Carell and Tina Fey comedy, "Mail Order Groom," which is scheduled to begin shooting this summer.

Before that, Cherniss worked at Fox Broadcasting Co. and FX, two News Corp. outlets that Liguori managed. Cherniss oversaw development of Fox programming, including "Glee," "Raising Hope," and "Bob's Burgers." At FX, Cherniss helped develop "Damages," and such marquee shows as "Nip/Tuck" and "Sons of Anarchy."

Tribune said Julio Marenghi, who has been in charge of WGN America since 2009, was moving to a new role as president of broadcast media sales for the TV stations and WGN radio in Chicago.

Tribune also owns the Los Angeles Times.

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