National Geographic Hires Discovery Vet Burns
National Geographic Channel named Discovery Communications veteran Steve Burns as executive VP for content as the channel remakes its top management.
Mr. Burns replaces John Ford, who left Nat Geo in March for a production company and to pursue other interests. He will report to David Haslingden, who was named CEO later that month after Laureen Ong moved to Star, News Corp.’s Asian satellite TV operation.
Beginning July 9, Mr. Burns will oversee development, production, acquisitions and scheduling.
He had been executive VP and chief science editor at Discovery Networks, responsible for Discovery Channel Quest, a series of expedition specials.
Before joining Discovery in 1992, he was a producer/cinematographer, then producer with National Geographic Television. He spent three years as senior producer on “Explorer.”
“The National Geographic Channel has been one of the most successful young networks in the history of cable television, from distribution growth to ratings growth, and the quality of our programming has been a key driver,” Mr. Haslingden said in a statement. “Now we’re looking at taking NGC to the next level as part of a larger international strategy, and Steve will be play a critical role in that endeavor.”
“I’m pleased to be returning home to this respected brand at such an important phase of its evolution,” said Mr. Burns. “The proven programming strategy of combining strong series and high-profile specials has created tremendous ratings momentum for the network, and I look forward to building on that success.”