A&E Television Networks recently announced that Abbe Raven will succeed Nickolas Davatzes as the company’s second-ever president and CEO. (Davatzes led AETN for 21 years and is transitioning into retirement.) Most recently president of A&E Network USA, Raven – who greenlit such popular shows as Growing Up Gotti and Dog the Bounty Hunter - will step into her new role April 1.
FremantleMedia has announced the appointment of Lorraine Heggessey, formerly controller of BBC1, to CEO of TalkBackThames. Heggessey will replace Peter Finchman, who is leaving the company after 20 years. Shane Murphy, formerly of Granada International, also joins Fremantle International Distribution as head of acquisitions and development.
The board of governors of Tokyo’s NHK has appointed Genichi Hashimoto president for a three-year period. Hashimoto will replace former president Katsuji Ebisawa. With the broadcaster since 1968, Hashimoto’s most recent role was as general managing director/executive director-general for engineering.
The European Documentary Network has begun looking for a new director. Current director Tue Steen Müller, who has been with the EDN since its start in 1996, will step down at the end of 2005.
National Geographic Ventures has shuffled its executive ranks. Dennis Patrick will step down as president and take on the role of chairman as Gilbert Grosvenor vacates that post. Patrick will also retain his role as CEO and Grosvenor will remain on the board at NGV.
Discovery Canada has appointed Ken MacDonald VP of programming. MacDonald replaces Jill Offman, who has joined Discovery U.K. MacDonald is responsible for the strategic programming direction of Discovery and its digital specialty services Animal Planet, Discovery Civilization Channel and CTV Travel.
In London, Target Entertainment has appointed Ed Forsdick as MD of its production division. Previous to his recent stint as a freelance producer/editor, Forsdick was MD at Planet 24.
Southern Star head of factual Simon Willock is going it alone, with plans to launch his own consultancy firm in May. Simon Willock International Film & Television – dubbed SWIFT – will help indies secure financing. Willock will retain ties to Southern Star, securing financing as well as sourcing acquisition opportunities.
British programming vet Patrick Younge has been hired to run the Travel Channel. Younge will serve as chief editorial executive, overseeing programming, production, development and operations for the network. He replaces Rick Rodriguez, who resigned last year.
Slamdance has said goodbye to festival director Kathleen McInnis, who stepped down after the 2005 edition.
Boston’s WGBH International has promoted Betsy LeBlanc to senior sales manager for international sales and welcomed Andrew Campana, formerly of Soundtrack Productions Inc., to assume sales responsibilities in Asia and the Pacific Rim.
London’s Indigo has welcomed Rosi Krupa as sales manager and head of factual. Prior to this, Krupa was head of factual at Eagle Rock Entertainment.
Michael Beller has been promoted to senior VP of business and legal affairs for the National Geographic Channel, making him responsible for all day-to-day business and legal matters that involve programming, marketing and operations.
New York’s Clear Channel Entertainment Television has promoted Dennis Spencer to senior VP and MD of international distribution and programming. He will work to expand the branch beyond sports and move into music and entertainment.
U.S. pubcaster PBS has hired Mark Pifer as its director of acquisitions for the PBS Consumer Product Group. Pifer, who recently filled the position of director of business operations at Cartoon Network, will manage content acquisitions for PBS Video.
U.K.-based FremantleMedia has announced the appointment of Sam Toles as VP of development for home entertainment, Americas. Prior to joining Fremantle, Toles was director of marketing and acquisitions for Rhino Home Video.
NY-based television prodco Atlas Media has hired Suzanne Levyto fill the newly created position of director of programming. Levy will oversee Atlas’ portfolio of specials and series, as well as a variety of programming logistics.