NEW YORK, March 29, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- COMEDY CENTRAL has hired Walter Levitt as executive vice president, marketing, it was announced today by Michele Ganeless, president, COMEDY CENTRAL. He will be based in the network's New York City office and report directly to Ganeless. In this role Levitt will be a key member of the all-comedy network's senior leadership team, overseeing all facets of strategic and creative brand development, consumer marketing and cross-business initiatives. Levitt comes to COMEDY CENTRAL from Canwest Broadcasting, one of Canada's largest media companies, where he was chief marketing officer.
"Walter's experience and pedigree are unparalleled. He has been masterful at building consistent brand messaging across multiple screens," said Ganeless. "We're thrilled to have him bring his talents to COMEDY CENTRAL and are grateful that he holds no animosity towards the network that helped coin the phrase 'Blame Canada.'"
"As a media marketer, the opportunity to lead the COMEDY CENTRAL brand is a rare treat. I look forward to working with the talented team here," said Levitt. "And, on behalf of all the citizens of Canada, I hereby officially pardon the network for that whole 'Blame Canada' thing."
One of North America's top media marketing executives, Levitt was most recently chief marketing officer at Canwest Broadcasting where he oversaw brand strategy, advertising, on-air promotion, publicity and content distribution for the company's portfolio of television and digital brands including broadcast network Global Television (with 13 local affiliate stations) and 19 Canadian cable channels including Food Network Canada, HGTV Canada, History Television, IFC Canada, Movietime, National Geographic Canada and Showcase.
Among his achievements at Canwest, Levitt oversaw several comprehensive network launches and re-branding initiatives including Global Television, Showcase, TVtropolis and DIY Network Canada and played a key role in Global's ratings resurgence, overseeing the launches of many top 10 programs including "Glee," "Prison Break" and "Rookie Blue." He was responsible for negotiating Canwest's landmark video-on-demand agreement with Rogers Cable – the country's first major primetime VOD offering. Levitt was also a key member of the Canwest management team that oversaw the successful integration of the Alliance Atlantis cable assets. These and other achievements led Canwest to be named 2007's "Media Player of the Year" by Marketing magazine.
Levitt joined Canwest in 2005 from Alliance Atlantis where, over a period of eight years, he held progressively senior marketing roles including senior vice president, marketing and creative services. Levitt was responsible for consumer, trade and affiliate marketing for its thirteen well-branded cable channels and international television distribution business including the "CSI" franchise. Under his leadership Alliance Atlantis was widely recognized for its marketing efforts, winning numerous Canadian and international awards and in 2004 was named "Media Player of the Year" by Marketing magazine. Prior to Alliance Atlantis, Levitt worked in marketing roles at the CTV Television Network and at CJEZ-FM in Toronto. He began his career as an on-air producer at radio station CKGM.
An acknowledged industry leader, Levitt has been widely credited for his strategic and innovative branding and marketing. He is regularly invited to speak at industry conferences in both Canada and the U.S. and in 2008 was featured in a special issue of Marketing magazine as one of the country's "Top 100 Thought Leaders." Levitt, a Montreal native, is also well known for his active involvement in social media thanks to his popular Twitter account @MediaMktgGuy.
COMEDY CENTRAL, the only all-comedy network, currently is seen in more than 98 million homes nationwide. COMEDY CENTRAL is owned by, and is a registered trademark of Comedy Partners, a wholly-owned division of Viacom Inc.'s (NYSE: VIA and VIA.B) MTV Networks. COMEDY CENTRAL's Internet address is www.comedycentral.com. For up-to-the-minute and archival press information and photographs visit www.comedycentral.com/press.
SOURCE COMEDY CENTRAL Corporate Communications