August 3, 2014
Michael Johns, a singer who finished eighth on the 2008 season of Fox’s “American Idol,” died last week at age 35 after suffering a blood clot in his ankle. Fox released a statement on the “Idol” Facebook page, writing, “Michael Johns was an incredible talent and we are deeply saddened by the news of his passing. He was a part of our ‘American Idol’ family and he will be truly missed. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family and friends during this difficult time.” More recently Johns performed on the PBS special “Hit Man: David Foster and Friends,” and he also made appearance on “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.”
CBS Television Studios has made a pair of hires, naming Meghan Lyvers senior vice president of drama development and Brianna Bennett vice president of drama development. Lyvers joins from Television 360, Bennett from Fox.
Actress Betsy Brandt is returning to NBC’s “Parenthood” for its upcoming sixth and final season, reprising her role as the ex-wife of Ray Romano’s character. Brandt, who also appeared in “Breaking Bad,” will have a recurring role on the final season.
Former “Saturday Night Live” cast member Jenny Slate is set to guest on Fox’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” appearing in the Sept. 28 season premiere. Slate has most recently appeared on “Parks and Recreation” and “House of Lies.”
Starcom USA has named Jake Rice vice president and search director, working in the agency’s Los Angeles office. Rice joins from the web site Gifts.com, where he was in charge of the SEO program.
Stewart Layton has been named president at AdStaff Media, a media planning and buying agency based in Memphis. Layton was most recently managing partner at Media CanDo.
VH1 has made two moves, naming Jennifer McGovern vice president of development and Ken Martinez vice president of current production, both working on the network’s East Coast team. McGovern was previously at Oxygen, while Martinez joins from Big Fish Entertainment.
Golf lifestyle channel Back9Network has promoted Charles Cox, naming him chief executive officer. Cox was previously chief financial officer at head of business development.
Director and producer Spike Jonze will guest on HBO’s “Girls” next season, playing a character named Marcos. Jonze most recently wrote the movie “Her.”
Digital marketing technology company MediaMath has made two additions, naming Ross McNab managing director for North America and Jake Engwerda vice president of sales for North America. McNab joins from Kinected, Engwerda from myThings.
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