Exclusive: Viacom unit head overseeing MTV, Comedy Central to leave - sources

By By Liana B. Baker and Jessica Toonkel Features Reuters

  • Copyright Reuters 2016

    (Copyright Reuters 2016)

  • Copyright Reuters 2016

    (Copyright Reuters 2016)

Longtime Viacom Inc executive Doug Herzog, who oversees the networks Comedy Central and MTV, is expected to leave the company next month, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

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Herzog, known for helping develop such MTV hits as "The Real World" and Comedy Central's "The Daily Show," is leaving as part of a restructuring following the appointment of Bob Bakish as chief executive officer earlier this month.

Viacom named Bakish, former head of its international business, as acting chief executive officer at the end of October, then permanent CEO on Dec. 12 as it announced the end of merger explorations with CBS Corp .

Viacom's head of distribution, Denise Denson, a longtime executive who worked closely with former CEO Philippe Dauman, left earlier in December.

Viacom declined to comment. Herzog could not immediately be reached for comment.

Herzog, who was most recently president of Viacom's Music and Entertainment Group which also includes VH1, Spike and Logo, began his career at Viacom as president of MTV Productions in 1984 and became president of Comedy Central in 1995.

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After leaving the company for a few years, he returned in 2004 to head the music and entertainment group.

While Herzog helped elevate MTV and Comedy Central during his tenure, over the past few years both networks have suffered from lackluster ratings and the loss of talent such as Jon Stewart, the former host of "The Daily Show," and Stephen Colbert, the host of "The Colbert Report."

In an interview with Reuters in November, Bakish said fixing MTV is one of his top priorities.

(Reporting by Liana B. Baker in San Francisco and Jessica Toonkel in New York; Editing by David Gregorio)