Three Execs Elevated

Dec 13, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Completing a reorganization of its top management, Rainbow Media named three executives to more senior posts and outlined plans to increase original programming at its networks.

Rainbow President and CEO Josh Sapan appointed Ed Carroll president of entertainment services, giving him oversight over AMC, IFC and WE: Women’s Entertainment. He assumes much of the responsibility formerly held by Kathleen Dore, who left Rainbow to join CanWest MediaWorks in October.

Mr. Sapan also tapped Gregg Hill as president of distribution and named Kim Martin executive VP and general manager of WE.

The WE post has been vacant since WE General Manager Martin von Ruden, AMC General Manager Kate McEnroe and a dozen others were let go during an investigation into accounting discrepancies.

Mr. Sapan said a thorough job search was conducted.

Mr. Carroll has been with Rainbow since 1987. He helped launch IFC and was in charge of Bravo, developing “Inside the Actor’s Studio” and “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” before the channel was sold to NBC in 2002.

Mr. Carroll said AMC’s ratings have grown as other networks, including TNT, TBS and FX, have de-emphasized films in their programming mix. The movie channel has been steadily adding original programming, with “Movie Club” starting this month, joining “Film Fakers” and “Sunday Morning Shootout” on the schedule. “You’ll see more of that,” Mr. Carroll said.

IFC is developing original scripted shows that will fit in with the network’s independent sensibility and deal with the world of independent film, Mr. Carroll said. He plans to pair two half-hour shows and put them on the air over the summer. He said it was hard to describe the shows as either comedies or drama. “They don’t fit easily in a box,” he said.

Ms. Martin was executive VP of distribution and affiliate marketing. She said she plans to hire a head of programming for WE before the end of the year, and that all of the final candidates are external to WE. She’s looking for someone with experience in scheduling in addition to developing original programming.

WE will de-emphasize films in favor of original programming, Ms. Martin said. Shows including “Single in the City,” “Full Frontal Fashion” and “Bridezilla” have been renewed, but will be tweaked to better fit the network’s evolving personality, she said. WE’s audience is younger and more educated than Lifetime’s, she said.

Mr. Hill was executive VP of affiliate sales and marketing responsible for the distribution of AMC, IFC, WE and Rainbow’s Mag Rack VOD service.

Rainbow is unlikely to come up with new linear networks for him to pitch to cable operators and satellite providers. Instead, Mr. Sapan expects to be developing original video-on-demand and broadband content.

“We think that’s the richest piece of terrain,” Mr. Sapan said.

Rainbow is expected to be spun off from parent Cablevision Systems along with Voom, the satellite HDTV service. But Cablevision last week said the spinoff won’t take place this year.