It’s Official: Tony Cassara To Head Young

The longtime television executive and board member succeeds Vincent Young. Cassara’s appointment completes a recent reorganization of the company and the senior management team. Deborah McDermott remains as president, with all 10 stations reporting to her. In addition, Tom Sullivan has been elected board chair.

Young Broadcasting board member and veteran television executive Tony Cassara is taking over the station group as CEO, the company announced today.

Cassara’s appointment completes a reorganization of the company and the senior management team that began when it filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009. It also confirms what TVNewsCheck reported in February.

Deborah McDermott remains as president, with all 10 stations reporting to her, the press release says.

In addition, Tom Sullivan has been elected board chair, replacing former CEO Vincent Young. Sullivan has served on the board since 2009.

McDermott status had been uncertain because of a agreement that a former board of Young had signed with Gray Television to manage seven of the 10 stations.

A Young spokesman says the agreement is still in effect, but that Gray is providing consulting services only. It is not managing any of the stations, he says.


“Young Broadcasting is experiencing a terrific resurgence, having emerged from bankruptcy with the best balance sheet in the industry,” Cassara said in the press release.

“Its local, national and political revenue grew exponentially in 2010, and company margins topped those of our publicly traded peers, including Nexstar, Sinclair, LIN TV, Gray TV and Belo. Last year also saw Young’s second-highest net operating income ever. I am proud to lead Young and look forward to expanding our opportunities for continued success.”

Cassara is a well-known broadcast executive. He started his career in sales at Metromedia in New York, moved to KTLA Los Angeles in 1977 and became the youngest general manager in the station’s history.

 Backed by KKR, he spearheaded the leveraged buyout of KTLA from Gene Autry for $245 million in 1982, and remained with the station until its 1985 sale to Tribune Broadcasting for the then-record single-station price of $530 million.

As president of Paramount Pictures’ Television Stations Group from 1993 to 2000, Cassara expanded the stations group from six to 20 television stations, generating record profits and making it one of Paramount’s most profitable business units.

He joined Chartwell Partners LLC as EVP in 2000, where he worked with Univision Chairman Jerry Perenchio to expand Univision’s business to include Telefutura, a second television network, by acquiring Barry Diller’s USA station Group.

Cassara also led the Univision side of the joint venture to develop a suite of Spanish-language channels for satellite and cable in the U.S. Cassara served as a Univision Director from 2005 to 2008.

Comments (4)

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Tom O'Toole says:

April 27, 2011 at 3:55 pm

It is a much better and stronger company with Tony at the helm!

Nancy Shively says:

April 27, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Tony Cassara is a true leader. When he finally rids Young of the remaining people who can disrupt the resurgence (why is McDermitt still there?) Young will again be a very strong company who will not need consultants. Vincent Young did a great job running mid to small market stations. There was always a basis for a great company. With Cassara at the helm I hope he finishes off what needs to be done. A new President with the right attitude to lead. Good luck to Tony and Young Broadcasting. Would be a great turnaround story.

Brad Dann says:

April 27, 2011 at 4:29 pm

I would believe that Deb is still there because she has a contract. It will be interesting to see if it’s renewed and if it is, a lot of will scratch our heads again and it will be a sign that nothing has really changed except that the bankruptcy got rid of debt Deb was a key part of creating. I also believe this is a sign that the investors would like to build up the company quickly and sell it as quickly as they can, which fits Tony’s background.

Al Ming says:

April 28, 2011 at 7:38 am

FederalGuy; I think you’re right. Deb’s “leadership” is sub-par and a contract is probably the only thing keeping her in place. Watch for a pull court press on a sale asap.

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