Tom Freston

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Tom Freston is an American television executive. Educated at St. Michael's College and New York University, he is the chairman and CEO of MTV Networks, overseeing the management of this company, which operates seven television networks: MTV, MTV2, VH1, Nickelodeon, TV Land, TNN, and Country Music Television, as well as several Internet properties.

Freston began his career in the field of advertising, but later moved to New Delhi, where he ran a textile and clothing business for eight years. After returning to the United States, where he worked for Benton & Bowles advertising agency (which later merged with D'Arcy) on the Charmain Toilet Paper account.

Later on, choosing to change directions with his life, Freston saw an ad in a newspaper that a music channel was being developed and joined Warner Amex Satellite Entertainment (WASEC) in 1980, which later became MTV Networks. In 1981, he was one of the founding members of MTV: Music Television, and as the head of marketing, created the "I want my MTV" ad campaign. In 1987 he became the CEO of MTV networks.

As CEO, Freston used his position to advance his networks' positions in new markets, both domestic and overseas, receiving increasing ratings every year, and launching several ancillary product lines featuring various segments and characters from popular series within his networks, including current tie-ins with Blue's Clues, Rugrats, Behind the Music, and Total Request Live.

In 2004, after Viacom President & COO Mel Karmazin stepped down (he later went on to become Chairman & CEO of Sirius Satellite Radio), Freston was named Co-President & Co-COO of Viacom (along with Leslie Moonves). This dual appointment has led to confusion as to who is going to take over Viacom when Chairman & CEO Sumner Redstone steps down in 2006.

In Freston's new role as Co-President & Co-COO, he oversees all cable network properties (MTV Networks and Showtime Networks), the motion picture businesses of Paramount Pictures, and the publishing operations of Simon & Schuster.

It was assumed for many years that Freston would take over as Chairman & CEO of Viacom because he had helped Sumner Redstone during the hostile takeover of Viacom in 1987. Naturally, because Freston had been a loyal colleague of Redstone, he would be the logical successor.


Viacom Inc. (http://www.viacom.com)
Official Biography from Viacom Web Site (http://www.viacom.com/bios_freston.tin)

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