Vivian Schiller, the founder of CNN’s long-form programming unit, is leaving her post in early summer to head up the Discovery Civilization Channel. While she’s excited by the new opportunity, she doesn’t expect long-form programming at CNN to end with her departure.
‘I’ve built something here with our long-form programming that I care very much about,’ says Schiller of her work at CNN. ‘I’ve been really pleased that even after I announced my departure, everything I’ve been hearing from management at CNN is that this [unit] will absolutely continue and grow. That’s very heartening for me.’
Schiller has been with CNN for five years, most recently in the capacity of senior VP, CNN Productions, and with CNN’s parent, Turner Broadcasting, for 14 years. In her new post for digicaster Discovery Civilization, Schiller will oversee programming and general management. She will join the channel, which is jointly owned by Discovery Communications and The New York Times Company, at the end of June. Schiller will be based at Discovery headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland, U.S., and will also work in New York with management of The New York Times Company.
‘As wonderful a company as CNN is, if I had to pick two other media companies that I would want to work with – even if I hadn’t known they were coming together – I would have picked Discovery and The New York Times Company,’ says Schiller. ‘Discovery is the most powerful media company for this kind of non-fiction TV and The New York Times is the most powerful print journalism entity in the world. It’s my hope we can capture the essence of that and turn it into really compelling television.’
No replacement has yet been named for Schiller at CNN.
Meanwhile, Billy Campbell was recently chosen as the new head of Discovery Networks U.S. Campbell was named president in mid-May, and fills the shoes of Johnathan Rodgers, who left the post at the end of March. Campbell was most recently the president of Miramax Television, and has held executive positions at CBS and Warner Brothers Television.