SVP/EP Jeff Behnke Leaving Turner Sports, Craig Barry Named SVP of Production
With its NBA campaign now in the can and its NASCAR coverage just revving up, Turner Sports announced a series of major shakeups in its production unit. SVP and Executive Producer Jeff Behnke will leave his post later this month and make way for Craig Barry, who will take on the title of SVP of production and executive creative director. In addition, Tim Kiely has been promoted to VP and executive producer of production, while Albert “Scooter” Vertino has been upped to VP and executive producer of content.
Barry, who will continue to be based in Atlanta, will assume his role effective immediately and will report to Lenny Daniels, Turner Sports EVP and COO. Barry is a 23-year veteran of Turner Sports who most recently served as SVP, creative and content since 2007. In his new capacity, Barry will oversee all aspects of production, editorial content, and creative direction for Turner’s diverse portfolio of television and digital sports properties.
“Craig is a proven leader with wide-ranging experience producing award-winning content across television and digital platforms,” says Daniels. “He has expertise in all areas of remote and studio production across our television, digital and mobiles businesses. As an established creative visionary, who has created some of the most memorable on-air promotional campaigns, I’m confident he will bring the same energy, mindset and cutting-edge approach to this newly created role.”
Behnke exits after leading Turner Sports into its recent partnership with CBS Sports for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tourmament, as well as Turner’s spearheading production efforts for Turner Sports coverage of the NBA, Major League Baseball, NASCAR, and the PGA.
“During his career at Turner Sports, Jeff has played a key role in all facets of our sports productions,” says Daniels. “We appreciate his many contributions, dedication, and loyalty; and have no doubt Jeff will have success in whatever he chooses to take on next.”
Barry, a 16-time Emmy Award winner, will also continue to oversee the division’s Creative Service Sports Unit (CSSU), which he has led since its inception in 2004. In 2012, Barry’s CSSU unit was awarded two Emmy Awards – one for NBA on TNT: NBA Forever (Outstanding Open/Tease) and NBA on TNT: Shaq ‘Get Ready’ (Outstanding Sports Promotional Announcement/Institutional).
During his 23-year career at the company, Barry has worked in a variety of capacities including associate director, director and producer for every property within Turner’s current sports portfolio including Major League Baseball, the NBA, NCAA Division One Men’s Basketball Championship, NASCAR and PGA Championships, as well as past properties including the Goodwill Games, NFL and Olympics.
Kiely will manage the day-to-day remote and studio production operations at Turner Sports. He will continue to produce the four-time Emmy Award-winning Inside the NBA studio show. Kiely, who will report directly to Barry, joined Turner Sports in 1995. Since 2011, he has served as VP/coordinating producer. Most recently, he has produced studio shows for TBS’ Major League Baseball postseason coverage, NASCAR on TNT, the PGA Championships on TNT and Turner’s joint coverage with CBS of the NCAA Division One Men’s Basketball Championship. During his tenure at Turner, he was involved in the on-air presentation of Atlanta Braves baseball, college football and Wimbledon. Prior to joining Turner Sports, Kiely served as coordinating producer at ESPN where he produced studio shows across multiple properties.
Vertino, a 17-year Turner Sports veteran, will now oversee content across the division’s linear, digital and mobile properties. In addition, Vertino will also continue to manage NBA Digital content, a role he has held since 2010, which encompasses NBA TV, NBA.com, NBA League Pass, WNBA.com and NBADLeague.com. In this capacity, he oversees all creative, production and editorial content for NBA Digital, which is jointly managed by Turner Sports and the NBA. Prior to 2010, Vertino was a producer for Turner’s highly acclaimed “NBA on TNT” coverage. Vertino, who was selected as a SportsBusiness Journal ‘Forty Under 40’ in 2011, will report to Barry and Christina Miller, SVP and GM, for NBA Digital.
“Tim and Albert are two of the finest producers in the business today,” says Daniels. “They have shown incredible creativity and passion in their long, and successful, careers at Turner and each have exhibited a commitment to delivering the highest quality experience for our viewers.”