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Discovery Names Gena McCarthy Development Production Boss

Nov 24, 2008  •  Post A Comment

The Discovery Channel’s head of development production, Jeff Hassler, left the network on Friday and has been replaced by one of his deputies, Gena McCarthy.
Discovery said in a statement that under Mr. Hassler, the network has ramped up the amount of original programming it was producing to 120 in the fourth quarter from 72 hours in the fourth quarter of 2007.
In the third quarter, a shortage of original programming led to a 13% decline in viewership. The network says the new programming has helped ratings bound back 25% so far in the fourth quarter.
“Jeff has achieved the aggressive goals of nearly doubling the content pipeline in an extremely tight timeline,” said John Ford, president and general manager of Discovery Channel. “His creativity, energy and instincts for the Discovery Channel brand have contributed to strong ratings increases across the schedule. His infectious sense of humor and warm personality will be sorely missed, especially by me.”
Ms. McCarthy had been VP of development and current programming.
“We have such a strong team that having a pro like Gena means we won’t miss a beat in our content development,” Mr. Ford. “She has that keen sense of what makes compelling programming and she’s able to execute it from concept to air. I have very high hopes for her as she takes on even more of a leadership role.”
Ms. McCarthy rejoined Discovery 2008 from WE tv, where she served as VP for development and production and oversaw all original content, including “My Fair Wedding,” “Bridezillas,” and “ The Locator.” Prior to WE tv, McCarthy spent eight years with Discovery Channel and TLC, where she executive produced some of the network’s highest-rated series, including “Dirty Jobs,” “Deadliest Catch,” ”MythBusters,” and “Junkyard Mega-Wars.”
(Editor: Baumann)

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