Former Discovery Channel president/GM John Ford has joined Ion Media Networks as president of programming. Ford will be tasked with overseeing all aspects of Ion Television’s content activities, including continued acquisitions, original programming, scheduling and creative strategy and positioning.
‘John’s seasoned experience brings a whole new creative perspective to Ion, including his background in acquisitions, unscripted reality content, major events and coproductions,’ said Ion Media Networks CEO Brandon Burgess. ‘All these content sources are on the table as Ion builds upon its growth momentum and looks to extend its television franchise in the years to come.’
Based in New York, Ford will be working closely with Marc Zand, who will now assume the expanded role of executive vice president, content acquisitions and digital networks. Zand will oversee the network’s TV series, movie acquisitions and negotiation activities while reporting to Ford, and will continue to lead ION’s digital channels Qubo and Ion Life.
‘Ion is a great environment to serve loyal entertainment TV audiences in the network’s growing 25-54 fan base,’ said Ford. ‘I look forward to drawing on Ion’s impressive distribution across broadcast, cable, satellite and telco households to serve and grow this core demographic.’
After a four-year period as EVP, programming at National Geographic Channel (NGC), Ford replaced Jane Root as Discovery Channel president in 2007 and left the company in late 2009. Prior to NGC, he’d been with Discovery for 13 years, and had launched and/or expanded various channels under its umbrella, including TLC, Discovery Health and HD Theater.