Looking for a Rebound, Fox TV Hires Top Programmer

In a separate move, Viacom said it integrated the Paramount and CBS television stations into one group.
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The struggling

Fox

television network tapped an independent producer to take over as its senior programming executive, the company said Wednesday.

The network, which has been mired in fourth place among the big networks this season, named Gail Berman as president for entertainment. Berman was previously president of

Regency Television

, the production studio that turned out one of Fox's few bright spots this season in "Malcolm in the Middle." She will report to Sandy Grushow, chairman of Fox television.

Berman succeeds Doug Herzog, who endured a bumpy 14-month ride atop the network and quit two months ago, after Grushow took over.

In addition to her success at Regency, which also produces "Roswell" for the

WB

network, Berman also serves as executive producer on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel", which also air on the WB.

Fox is a unit of

Fox Entertainment

(FOX) - Get Report

, which is controlled by

News Corp.

(NWS) - Get Report

. Shares of Fox closed down 5/16, or 1%, at 25 3/8, while News Corp.'s American depositary receipts closed down 5/8, or 1%, at 43 1/16.

In a separate industry development,

Viacom

(VIA) - Get Report

said it had integrated the

Paramount

and

CBS

television stations into one group, the

CBS Television Stations Division

.

The new division, to be headed by Leslie Moonves, president and chief executive of CBS, brings together the 16 owned-and-operated CBS television stations with the 19-

UPN

affiliated stations that had been a part of the Paramount Stations group. Viacom completed its acquisition of CBS earlier this month.

Viacom's actively traded class B shares closed down 1 1/8, or 2%, at 55 1/16.