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Former Exec Hoffman Gets CNBC Gig

2/13/2005 7:00 PM Eastern

Former CNBC executive Mark Hoffman took the reins at the channel last week, as former CEO Pamela Thomas Graham moved up to network chairman.

Hoffman, who had been general manager of NBC Universal-owned station WVIT-TV in Hartford, Conn., will need to lift ratings at the 86 million-subscriber service and stave off competition from a business-news offshoot of Fox News Channel set to launch this year.

Hoffman — who’ll report to Graham and NBC Universal Television Group president Jeff Zucker — had several posts at CNBC, most recently as vice president and managing editor of business development in 2001. He’ll oversee operations and programming now.

Under Graham, CNBC averaged a 0.2 total-day rating in 2004, flat with 2003 and tied with CNN Headline News for the bottom among cable news networks. It has lost 69% of its 2-plus audience since 2001, after the Internet bubble burst.

Hoffman said the brand remains strong among core viewers. “I’ve inherited a very smart group of television professionals both on the camera and behind the scenes, and I’m very optimistic about the future there,” he said. “The Nielsen ratings tell a very small part of the story.

“CNBC is viewed extensively on trading floors and CEO offices, in health clubs and country clubs. It is a force and will continue to be a force.”

CNBC pulls in major advertising support and is said to net some $250 million per year.

September