Dolores Gavin (pictured, right), U.S. net Discovery Channel’s exec VP of development and production for the East Coast, is leaving the company, along with chief operating officer Edward Sabin (left), realscreen has confirmed.
The departures come just ahead of former Shine America exec Rich Ross arriving as president of the U.S. channel in January.
It is understood that Ross – who will be based in Los Angeles – wants to have a stronger presence on the West Coast and, as such, Gavin’s West Coast counterpart Denise Contis is expected to take on the departing exec’s East Coast duties as well.
Although producers will still be based in Discovery’s Silver Springs, MD headquarters, it is understood that Ross wants to oversee programming and development out of Los Angeles.
Gavin was upped from SVP of development and production for Discovery Channel to EVP of the division’s East Coast operations in January 2013. The exec joined the network in 2010 from History Channel, where she was serving as VP of programming and development.
Meanwhile, Edward Sabin - who has served as group chief operating officer for Discovery Channel and TLC Networks since February 2011 – is also stepping down. It is believed he is exiting due to Ross’s desire to have a chief operating officer role that is solely focused on Discovery Channel, as opposed to both Discovery and TLC.
Before overseeing the two brands, Sabin served as COO of TLC. Prior to that position, he worked at Fox Television Studios for seven years as both SVP of business development and operations, and VP of business and legal affairs.
Below is a memo sent by Sabin to staff:
I have enjoyed working at this company for the past 7-plus years. This is the smartest, hardest-working and most creative and strategic group I have been a part of, and I feel so lucky to have been able to learn from and contribute to it. My role as Group COO, which was created when Discovery Channel and TLC were under common creative leadership, has been challenging and stimulating in every way, allowing me to contribute to the most important assets of the company.
In light of recent management and structural changes in the leadership of the company, the opportunity to be across multiple businesses in an operational role is no longer available. As a consequence, the company and I have decided amicably to part ways. We are still discussing the timing and particulars around my departure, but have agreed it will happen… but not immediately, so you can expect to see me (and hear potty-mouth hip hop blaring from the speakers in my office) for some time longer!
I say this with mixed emotions because, while I am excited to embark on the next chapter of my career, I will be leaving behind friends and colleagues for whom I have immense respect and affection, from the most senior to the most junior levels.
Discovery has been a fantastic place for me, and I will treasure the time I’ve spent here.