Exclusive: John Ford exits ION Television

Former Discovery Channel topper John Ford (pictured) has stepped down as ION Television's president of programming, realscreen has learned, exiting the U.S. network after less than a year in the job.
September 20, 2011

ION Television’s president of programming John Ford (pictured) has left the company, realscreen has learned, exiting the U.S. network after less than a year in the job.

Realscreen understands from sources close to the situation that Ford departed last week and does not have a new job lined up, however the departure is not understood to be acrimonious. He declined to comment when contacted.

The departure comes after Ford, who was formerly president and general manager of the U.S. Discovery Channel, arrived at ION last November, to much fanfare.

Reporting to ION Media Networks CEO Brandon Burgess, Ford was tasked with overseeing all aspects of ION Television’s content activities, including continued acquisitions, original programming, scheduling, and creative strategy and positioning.

During his brief tenure, Lauren Gellert was recruited from Zodiak USA to work with him as ION Media Network’s VP of production and development, as previously revealed.

ION owns and operates 59 television stations across America, reaching more than 98 million homes in the U.S. via broadcast, cable and satellite.

To date, it has largely acquired content, however with Ford and Gellert’s arrival, it was due to begin development of its own original series for its stations, including its flagship general entertainment network ION Television, which airs series, theatrical and made-for-TV movies, specials and sports.

A spokeswoman for ION Media Networks did not respond to requests for comment at press time.

About The Author
Managing editor with realscreen publication, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Darah is an award-winning journalist who has spent over two decades covering a wide range of issues from real estate and urban development to immigration, politics and human rights, primarily with The Vancouver Sun. Prior to joining realscreen, she was editor of Stream Daily, realscreen's sister publication covering the dynamic global digital video industry. She also served a stint as a war reporter in Afghanistan for television and print, and was a national business blogger with Yahoo Canada.