People/Biz

Marjorie Kaplan out at Discovery amid reshuffle

Marjorie Kaplan is leaving Discovery Communications after 20 years. Her departure comes as the cable giant restructures its London-based creative teams to shift focus to local production in the UK and Ireland. Previously ...
October 11, 2016

Marjorie Kaplan is leaving Discovery Communications after 20 years.

Her departure comes as the cable giant restructures its London-based creative teams to shift focus to local production in the UK and Ireland.

Previously the head of U.S. nets TLC and Animal Planet, Kaplan moved to the UK capital last August to work in the newly created role of president of content for Discovery Networks International (DNI).

The centralized International Content Group is now being absorbed into the company’s UK/Ireland operation under Susanna Dinnage, who has been promoted from Discovery Networks UK managing director to president and managing director of Discovery Networks UK/Ireland.

During her time in London, Kaplan worked with DNI president and CEO JB Perrette to review international content strategy. She helped “determine that the international content group should work directly with the UK business, as both the UK and the US creative communities have been at the forefront of producing some of the best ‘local to global’ content successes,” the company said in a statement.

Kaplan will leave at the end of the year after a transition period.

“I believe strongly in the power of global content and universal human stories. Discovery’s international business must prioritize local relevance to best serve international audiences and drive growth, and further leverage its incredibly creative talent around the world,” Kaplan said in a statement. “As a result, the current central structure doesn’t make sense for the company or for me.  Although this is a bittersweet decision for me, I expect it to also be the start of new adventures as exciting as those I have undertaken while at Discovery.”

Dinnage will continue to develop programming and formats for the UK in addition working with international teams to generate content for global markets. She began working at Discovery seven years ago and has worked in several roles. She has launched TLC in the UK, as well as the British version of hit wedding format Say Yes To The Dress. She also also helped propel adventurer Ed Stafford to international fame.

Prior to joining Discovery, Dinnage was part of the launch team at Channel 5 and began her career at MTV.

Perrette said Dinnage has been “instrumental in building our brands and channels in our biggest market outside the US. Redeploying resources to the UK team, as well as bolstering the innovative work done by Discovery’s local creative teams worldwide, will ensure a healthy pipeline of content.”

Of Kaplan, Perrette added: “She’s an incredible business leader, widely admired both internally and externally, having transformed multiple businesses at the company and with long-running hit series on virtually all our channels, to her credit. I know she is excited to seek out an entirely new challenge, but her legacy will remain and she will be missed.”

A 20-year veteran of Discovery Communications, Kaplan previously served as group president of TLC, Animal Planet and Velocity. She launched Discovery Kids and in 2007 took over Animal Planet. In 2014, Kaplan also assumed the leadership of TLC as well as Velocity, in addition to serving as interim head of Discovery Channel prior to the appointment of Rich Ross.

Last October, Phil Craig exited DNI eight months after joining the company as executive VP and chief creative officer. He was not replaced.

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.

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