February 13, 2014
No one wanted to be associated with former Food Network star Paula Deen’s career after she admitted last year to using racial slurs, but now the butter lover is making a comeback. Deen has signed a new deal with the consumer distribution company Najafi Media, a pact US Weekly reports is worth $75 million. The deal will cover distribution of her branded products, such as cookware and cookbooks, as well as other ventures including restaurants and cruises. She lost a lot of luster in the eyes of her sponsors last year. Food Network let her contract expire, and her companies including Walmart, Caesars, Home Depot and Sears dropped her.
NBCUniversal has promoted Emily Yeomans and Chloe Ellers, naming them vice presidents of communications for Bravo and Oxygen Media. Yeomans had been senior director at Oxygen, while Ellers was director at Bravo.
Paul Schur has been promoted to vice president of communications at Discovery Channel, up from his previous position as senior director of publicity. Before Discovery, Schur held positions at Fox News and CNN.
Hallmark has signed Valerie Harper and Dick Van Dyke to guest on its upcoming drama “Signed, Sealed, Delivered,” about a group of mail detectives. Harper and Van Dyke will both play supervisors on the show.
Actor Oscar Nuñez has joined the cast of USA’s upcoming comedy “Benched,” joining Eliza Coupe in the cast. Nuñez previously appeared on NBC’s “The Office.”
MEC North America has named Rachel Pasqua head of mobile, reporting to digital president Susan Schiekofer. Pasqua was most recently vice president of mobile at iCrossing.
Creative duo Brad Phifer and Brad Kayal have joined the ad agency barrettSF, where they will work with clients including Pac-12 Networks and Mad Libs. The pair were previously at Venables Bell & Partners.
Brent Laufenberg has been named vice president of innovation at Rise Interactive, a digital marketing agency. Laufenberg had been vice president of enterprise strategy and global delivery at Saggezza.
Gawker Media has a new vice president of sales, naming Michael Kuntz to the position. Kuntz joins from Hearst Magazines, where he was publisher and chief revenue officer for Popular Mechanics.
CW’s new drama “The Flash” is welcoming the old “Flash.” John Wesley Shipp, who played the title role in CBS’s 1990s version of “The Flash,” has signed on to guest on the pilot of CW’s upcoming version, although there’s no word yet on who he will play. The CW pilot is a spinoff of its “Arrow,” and if it goes to series Shipp will be upgraded to a recurring character.
Screenvision has made three hires, naming Leslie Wheeler vice president for the Midwest and Chicago, J.C. Kawalec vice president for the Western Region and Craig Coleman vice president of advertising sales and marketing. Wheeler joins from Viacom, Kawalec from DirecTV, and Coleman from NBCUniversal.
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