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Scripps appoints Tom Zappala as head of programming for national networks business

EW Scripps Tom Zappala
Tom Zappala / © The E.W. Scripps Company

The E.W. Scripps Company has appointed television industry veteran Tom Zappala as head of programming for its national television networks business, effective Jan. 25.

In this new role, Zappala will be responsible for developing and executing programming strategy for the new Scripps networks. He will report to Jonathan Katz, chief operating officer and head of entertainment for Scripps networks.

Zappala brings over 30 years of programming and production experience, having held leadership roles at entertainment giants including Viacom, The Walt Disney Company and CBS. Most recently, he led programming strategy for MGM Global Networks’ linear and digital networks. In this role, Zappala negotiated and acquired third-party product to support program initiatives and stunts, oversaw digital scheduling functions and facilitated renewal discussions with MVPDs and digital partners.

Previously, Zappala served as executive vice president, programming for Viacom Media Networks and, from 2003-2011, as executive vice president of programming at The Walt Disney Company, developing programming and co-production strategies for its cable network groups. Before joining Disney, Zappala held a variety of leadership roles at CBS. As senior vice president, programming, he directed all programming and research operations for CBS’ owned-and-operated TV stations.

“Tom is one of the most versatile and creative programmers in the media business today, on any platform,” Katz said. “His breadth of experience makes him exceptionally qualified to lead our programming efforts as we bring our national networks businesses together. I’ve always envied the companies that were lucky enough to leverage Tom’s talents, and now I’m thrilled that he’s part of our team.”

Zappala’s hiring comes as Scripps builds the leadership ranks of its new national networks business. In addition to the appointments of Zappala and Katz, National Networks President Lisa Knutson also recently tapped Jeffery Wolf as chief distribution officer, Mark Gray as head of network and station operations and Robin Davis as vice president, strategy and planning.

Zappala earned his bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of New Hampshire and is based in Los Angeles.