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Dennis Leonard's successor at Channel 31 and The Deuce named: Here comes Peter Maroney

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Back in February, Local TV LLC, the company that owns Channel 31 and The Deuce, announced that controversial general manager Dennis Leonard would be moving on -- voluntarily, everyone swore, although neither Leonard nor Local TV exec Pam Taylor returned numerous requests for comment. (Taylor wasn't available to chat this afternoon, either.)

Now, however, the stations are moving forward, with the announcement today that Peter Maroney, currently the GM at a station in Richmond, Virginia, will be taking over the Denver operation. A statement quotes Maroney as saying, "KWGN is a legendary station in Denver, and one of the original superstations. People in the market grew up watching Channel 2. KDVR is a Fox affiliate that has nothing but upside on the news and programming front. The two stations together are a blockbuster, and I can't wait to get started in the market. This is one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities."

Maybe so, but it'll also be a challenging one, thanks in part to a certain Mr. Leonard.

During his year-plus on the job, Leonard rebranded the station as The Deuce, much to the amusement of anyone familiar with the Urban Dictionary -- like, for instance, Leonard, who declared in a Westword interview, "It's the shit, dude!" He also launched lots of dubious programming, including the awkwardly youth-centric Channel 2 newscast, labeled News on The Deuce and Martino TV, a de facto infomercial starring the longtime consumer advocate.

Don't expect Maroney to dump all these shows immediately. He'll presumably take his time to get settled and evaluate what's working and what's not. But it's telling that in his statement, Maroney refers not to The Deuce, but to KWGN, and makes note of its history instead of making it sound like Teen TV. Maybe Maroney will become a literal channel changer.

Here's the Local TV announcement:

PETER MARONEY NAMED LOCAL TV DENVER MARKET PRESIDENT

TELEVISION VETERAN TO LEAD STATIONS POST CONSOLIDATION

LOCAL TV LLC, Denver, CO, March 9, 2010 -- Denver's KDVR Fox 31 and KWGN CW Channel 2 today welcome a new leader. Television veteran Peter Maroney, currently President and GM of WTVR in Richmond, VA is heading to the big office at Local TV's all new high definition studios in the Mile High City.

Taking the top job at the Denver duopoly owned by Local TV and Tribune Broadcasting Co. is a career high for Maroney. Denver's vibrant economy and the opportunity for ratings and revenue growth at the stations are both big attractions to the highly experienced television newsman.

"KWGN is a legendary station in Denver, and one of the original superstations. People in the market grew up watching Channel 2. KDVR is a Fox affiliate that has nothing but upside on the news and programming front. The two stations together are a blockbuster, and I can't wait to get started in the market. This is one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities."

Maroney heads west leaving a seven year reign as General Manager of WTVR Channel 6 in Richmond. While leading the CBS affiliate to a first place position in that market, Maroney assembled one of the strongest television department head teams in the industry. Saying good-bye is a tough move, but Maroney says he leaves WTVR in the hands of a people who know how to win. "WTVR is a great success story written by a team of talented people," says Maroney. "We've fought hard to get where we are, and I know this team will keep the momentum going. "

Local TV CEO Bobby Lawrence adds, "Our Denver station and Local Marketing Agreement with Tribune are critical components of our portfolio. Peter's strong product background, demonstrated skill at leading stations to top news positions and selected pictures that I'd rather not comment on made him the perfect person for the job. "

Stephen Hayes, WTVR's General Sales Manager and one of Maroney's right hands will step into the Interim General Manager's role while Local TV explores its options for the Richmond market. The Company hopes to permanently fill the post within the next few weeks.

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