Emerson Coleman To Retire As Hearst Television SVP

The veteran programmer who has helped guide numerous television shows and careers caps more than four decades in the industry including 32 years at Hearst Television.

Emerson Coleman, senior vice president, programming at Hearst Television since 2018 and with the company since 1990, will retire from Hearst Television in summer 2022. His successor will be named at a later date.

For more than two decades Coleman has overseen the company’s program development and acquisitions and has launched several public affairs programs including the nationally syndicated Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien.

“Emerson’s impactful voice and leadership have been cultural cornerstones of Hearst Television for nearly a quarter century,” said Hearst Television President Jordan Wertlieb. “Throughout his career he has provided invaluable and thoughtful counsel to many executives and on-air talent in the industry, putting an indelible mark on non-fiction programming and countless careers. He is one of the finest gentlemen I have ever met, exuding grace and class in every way.”

Coleman moved to the Hearst Television corporate office as vice president, programming, in 1999.  Before coming to New York, he was vice president and director of broadcast operations at Hearst’s WBAL Baltimore, where he first developed the nationally syndicated news and information series The Remarkable Journey, which was ultimately distributed by NBC and sold to UPN, the former United Paramount Network.

Previously, Coleman led multiple international television projects and held senior production roles at WBZ Boston and WJZ Baltimore, where he was executive producer of local programming and where he began his TV career in 1979 before moving to WBAL in 1990.

In 2000, Coleman helped pioneer an evolution in local television when Hearst joined with the NBC station group and Gannett Broadcasting, now Tegna, to innovate a programming and distribution consortium that launched shows hosted by Jane Pauley and John Walsh, among others. In 2012 he served on the greenlight committee for Mark Burnett’s One Three Media, a joint venture with Hearst, whose series included Survivor, The Voice and Shark Tank.  More recently he was instrumental in Hearst’s 2017 acquisition of Litton Entertainment, a producer and distributor of a diverse portfolio of programs to 1,000 US television stations and to outlets in 97 countries worldwide.


In his role at Hearst Television, Coleman has helped support and advance the television careers of many well-known national television personalities, including Kelly Clarkson, Steve Harvey, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Tamron Hall, Carlos Watson, Ellen DeGeneres and Meredith Vieira, among others.

Coleman has been honored with national and regional awards from organizations including the National Association of Broadcasters, the National Association of Television Program Executives, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the National Association of Black Journalists.

Among a number of board responsibilities, Coleman serves on the NATPE executive committee, the advisory board of the Peabody Awards and the board of the NAB Leadership Foundation.

Born in North Carolina, Coleman moved with his family at a young age to Baltimore. His father, Emerson Coleman, Sr., a printer at the Afro-American Newspapers, led the successful fight to break the color barrier at the Baltimore Sun where he went on to work for 35 years. Following high school in Baltimore, Coleman graduated from Brown University and the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School of Communications, on whose board he serves.

“When you watch the credits at the end of a presentation, they don’t always tell the whole story,” Coleman said. “I am very proud to have contributed to a company that has made possible impressive projects such as the Song for New Orleans and Seven Days that Changed New Orleans specials following Hurricane Katrina, and the Matter of Fact Listening Tour digital series in response to the massive protests demanding justice for George Floyd. Those monumental undertakings represent the kinds of initiatives that have afforded me the opportunity to elevate important voices, share untold stories and pass on what I have learned to another generation. Credit to a company whose leadership has made a genuine impact globally, locally — and consistently — and found a way to meet the difficult challenges of our world head on.”

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