People on the Move

Starz makes space for a new VP; new prodco TalkBack Thames appoints a staff; NatGeo signs veteran journalist
February 20, 2003

Englewood, U.S.-based Starz Encore Group has promoted Nancy Silverstone from executive director to VP of program acquisitions. Silverstone’s responsibilities will include negotiating licensing deals with indie and major studios for first-run and library titles and documentary coproductions, as well as overseeing the company’s acquisitions budget.

TalkBack Thames, a new production company in the U.K. that was formed from the merger of U.K. prodcos TalkBack and Thames (see this week’s News in Brief), announced the appointments of Sally Debonnaire as chief operating officer; Mike Bibby as director of finance; Ian Ayres as director of operations, and Merton and Rupert Brankin-Frisby as head of legal and business affairs. The senior editorial teams will include Ruth Wrigley, as head of factual entertainment for Thames, John Silver as head of factual and Jerry Foulkes as editor of factual, both for TalkBack.

Veteran journalist Peter Arnett has signed a deal with National Geographic to become the Iraq correspondent for the brand’s TV series Explorer. Arnett will produce in-depth reports for the program, which airs on U.S. cable channel MSNBC.

MTV Networks Europe has announced plans to launch a development unit in March that will create original formats specifically for MTV Europe. Leading the unit will be Matthew Bowes, who has been promoted to the position of director of development, MTV Productions Europe. Bowes was formerly head of production, MTV UK & Ireland.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has announced the appointments of John Doherty as head of international operations and Ian Carroll as head of network and programming at ABC Asia Pacific, the broadcaster’s international satellite television service.

AOL Time Warner announced that Philip Kent, the former president of the CNN News Group, will replace Jamie Kellner as chairman and CEO of Turner Broadcasting System as of March 10. Kellner will continue on as chairman and CEO of The WB Network.

U.K. distributor Electric Sky has announced the appointment of John Chambers as non-executive director, a newly created position. Chambers, who remains the chief executive of Horsebridge Productions, will investigate rights investment opportunities for Electric Sky.

The search for a new leader for the National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) will wrap up on March 7, the deadline set for receiving applications. Bruce Johansen resigned from his post as NATPE’s president and CEO last month (see RealScreen Plus, January 23). The search committee plans to narrow its choice to one candidate in time for NATPE’s board of directors’ meeting in the spring.

San Francisco, U.S.-based lifestyle channel TechTV has appointed Kevin McFeeley as senior regional manager and Stephen Tibshrany as regional manager of its sales team.

The board of trustees for Boston, U.S.-based pubcaster WGBH has elected Charles J. Beard II as its chair. Beard is a partner in the law firm Foley Hoag.

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