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Discovery shuffle sees Ross add Animal Planet, Science

Discovery Communications has realigned its U.S. network portfolio in a series of moves that now sees Rich Ross (pictured) upped to group president of Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and Science Channel, alongside a number of other executive shifts.
August 13, 2015

Discovery Communications has realigned its U.S. network portfolio in a series of moves that now sees Rich Ross (pictured) upped to group president of Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and Science Channel, alongside a number of other executive shifts.

Ross is now charged with overseeing channels Animal Planet and Science Channel, in addition to Discovery Channel, while Rick Holzman - GM of Animal Planet – will now report to Ross, having previously reported to Marjorie Kaplan, who was named president of content for Discovery Networks International last week.

Rita Mullin, GM of Science Channel, will also report to Ross.

Since joining the network in January, Ross has overseen two quarters through a slate of programming, and has pushed for a stronger documentary division, ultimately leading to the acquisition of worldwide rights to Oscar winner Louie Psihoyos‘ Racing Extinction.

Elsewhere, Discovery Life Channel has now been integrated into the TLC brand, reporting to executive VP and GM Nancy Daniels. Howard Lee, who continues to report to Daniels, will assume the additional title of GM of Discovery Life Channel, adding to his existing responsibilities as executive VP of development and production of TLC.

Meanwhile, Henry Schleiff is to continue in his post as group president of Investigation Discovery (ID), American Heroes Channel (AHC) and Destination America. Balancing out the daily management of these networks will be Kevin Bennett, GM of ID and executive VP of programming, under Schleiff, while Marc Etkind, GM of Destination America, and Jane Latman - who moves from GM of Discovery Life Channel to GM of AHC – will oversee the daily general management of their respective networks.

Further reorganization at Discovery Communications will see Latman pull double duty as senior VP of development at ID in addition to her new role at AHC.

Elsewhere, Bob Scanlon has been upped to GM of Velocity and automotive content, reporting to Kaplan.

Finally, the company announced that Carolina Lightcap, head of content for Discovery Latin America and U.S. Hispanic Group, will now be responsible for organizing the direction of its global family brands and children’s content. Tom Cosgrove, GM of Discovery Family Channel, will report to Lightcap.

“This strategic realignment positions Discovery well to drive our content engine across platforms here in the U.S. and worldwide, and creates the strongest pairings of creative talent to develop, program and lead these new brand groups now and into the future,” said president and CEO David Zaslav in a statement.

“I believe some of Discovery’s best stories are yet to be told and I look forward to the growth and further development for each of our U.S. brands for years to come under this team’s strong creative leadership,” the exec added.

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