SBJ/November 20 - 26, 2006/This Weeks News

Exec producer Plavnick exits ESPN Classic

Judy Plavnick left ESPN Classic last week after spending a year in Bristol, Conn., as an executive producer for the network.

Plavnick decided to move back to her hometown, Washington, D.C., for personal reasons, a network spokesman said.

Plavnick was hired in October 2005 from the Discovery Channel, where she also was an executive producer. She maintained her home in Washington and had reportedly grown tired of her weekly commute to Bristol.

ESPN officials have not made a decision about how they will replace Plavnick, saying they are still evaluating the situation.

During her stint in Bristol, she helped guide a program strategy that moved away from showing only classic games. She introduced many original programming elements to the schedule, along with cleaner and brighter graphics and set design.

She was responsible for bringing the trivia show “Stump the Schwab” to the network every night at 7 ET. The network followed the trivia show with a classic boxing program, which, in turn, was followed by an old World Series of Poker telecast. One of ESPN Classic’s countdown shows wrapped up the prime-time schedule.

Though ESPN Classic saw its highest ratings under Plavnick, the prime-time ratings never rose beyond a 0.2. In October, it pulled a 0.15 cable rating, representing 94,083 households.

During her career, Plavnick has won three Emmy awards and eight Telly awards. She has had stints with NBC News and NFL Films.

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