CBS has announced that Paul Franklin will step down as president of CBS Television Distribution. The move brings the curtain down on his three-decade-plus career and continues the dramatic overhaul of CBS Corp. after the exit of Les Moonves in early September.
Two years ago, nearly 30 years into his tenure as a Fox executive, Franklin came to CBS in a reorganization that saw Armando Nuñez refocus on international operations. Nuñez in 2012 had been given oversight of both domestic and international distribution.
The CBS announcement follows several dramatic changes to the company overseen by interim CEO Joe Ianniello, who was Moonves’ longtime No. 2 and is now auditioning to keep the top job. Making seemingly an announcement every other day, the company has promoted Showtime’s David Nevins to Chief Creative Officer and also made promotions and hires across finance, human resources and communications.
Distribution and licensing at CBS have always played a central role in generating revenue, with a 38% rise in full-year segment revenue in 2017 and steady progress this year. The division, with stalwarts like Dr. Phil and Entertainment Tonight, topped $1 billion in revenue during the second quarter. CBS is expected to announce third-quarter earnings on November 1.
In a 28-year run at Fox, Franklin rose to the title of Executive Vice President and General Sales Manager for 20th Television and MyNetworkTV. In that dual role, he led broadcast syndication sales for the studio and distribution strategies for the national programming service. He handled syndication launches for Modern Family, How I Met Your Mother and other shows and helped establish MyNetworkTV’s distribution system, programming strategy and brand identity across 180 affiliates.
“I tried to retire once before, but failed,” Franklin said in a statement. “I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to work at CBS and lead the top syndicator in the business. For the last few years, I have thoroughly enjoyed working with my colleagues at CBS, our talented hosts and producers, and our station partners. CBS has been a highlight of my career, and I am proud to have kept us on top. I’ve worked in this industry I love for more than three decades, but now it feels like the right time to retire and finally have time to spend with my family, watch my son play college baseball and pursue some personal goals.”
Ianniello saluted Franklin as a “well-liked, well-respected executive” in the announcement. “At CBS, he kept our syndication division on top while smartly positioning us for the future with deals to extend key talent and franchise series,” he said. “We congratulate Paul for an outstanding career and wish him all the best in his upcoming retirement.”