John Ford, former president of Discovery’s Content Group, has been tapped as president of the new media division for Discovery Networks, U.S. In his new role, Ford will oversee Discovery HD Theater (the company’s new 24-hour high-def network), Discovery Interactive TV, Discovery.com and Discovery’s video-on-demand services.
Former executive producer for BBC1′s factual department Todd Austin has been appointed editor of BBC1′s new 40-minute documentary strand, which has yet to be named, but will go on the air in 2003/4. In his new role, Austin will commission and executive produce films both from within the BBC and across the independent sector.
Award-winning natural history producer Brian Leith (Congo, Elephants of the Sand River) has been appointed head of Granada Wild’s new production center in Bristol, U.K. Leith’s appointment follows the departure of Phil Fairclough, who left his post at Granada Wild to work as VP, production at the Discovery Channel in Washington, D.C. Andrew Buchanan – newly promoted deputy head of Granada Wild – will work alongside Leith.
Univision Communications, the U.S.’s leading Spanish-language media company, announced the appointments of Maria Lopez-Alvarez, former VP and director of news/entertainment programs, and Sylvia Rosabal-Ley, former VP and director of news coverage, to the joint position of VP and co-news director. The two will oversee the company’s news division.
After six years as director of sales at Endemol U.K., Peter Van den Bussche has quit to head up the international sales efforts of New Zealand-based prodco Touchdown Television, which recently expanded its business to include the international distribution of its formats.
On September 5, PBS’s senior VP, corporate communications and public affairs Laura Nichols, will leave her post to work in conjunction with Karen Nussle, director of Washington, D.C.-based BKSH & Associates, to consult on corporate communications with PBS.