People on the Move

Travel Channel exec departs; Seattle pub channel appoints interim CEO; Food Network signs Emeril for another five years
May 8, 2003

Steve Cheskin has resigned from his position as executive VP and GM of Silver Spring, U.S.-based Travel Channel, effective May 9. Cheskin spent 18 years with Discovery Networks and had been with its Travel Channel unit since 2000. He was instrumental in importing Junkyard Wars to the U.S. market from the U.K. A replacement has not yet been named.

The board of Seattle, U.S.-based PBS affiliate KCTS announced the appointment of William Mohler as interim president and CEO for the station, effective immediately. The board is conducting a nation-wide search to replace outgoing president and CEO Burnill F. Clark, who will retire on June 30 (See RealScreen Plus April 24) .

In other KCTS news, former VP of production David Rabinovitch – who left the troubled public channel at the end of March, when his three-year contract expired – is launching a new Canadian production company that will have offices in Toronto and Winnipeg. Rabinovitch is also in discussions with another U.S. public TV station about a possible affiliation.

Popular chef and cooking show host Emeril Lagasse has signed a five-year, multimillion dollar deal with New York, U.S.-based specialty channel Food Network. The deal calls for 90 new episodes per year of Emeril Live, as well as 26 episodes of Essence Of Emeril and ‘multiple network specials.’ The Food Network will also gain control of international rights to the show.

At the recent Toronto Documentary Forum, Chris Haws resurfaced as a consultant for Oregon Public Broadcasting. A former senior VP and executive producer at Discovery Networks International, Haws has been developing project ideas for KCTS in Seattle, U.S., among others.

Turner Broadcasting System announced the promotion of Shirley Powell to the position of senior VP of corporate communications. As head of public relations on TBS and its networks and businesses, Powell will be based in Atlanta, U.S., and will oversee the PR for CNN News Group and Turner Entertainment Group (which includes TBS Superstation and TNT), among others. She was most recently senior VP of network communications for Turner Entertainment Networks.

Manon Williams has been appointed as head of public policy for BBC Nations and Regions. She is currently the secretary and head of public affairs for BBC Wales. In her new role, Williams will head up BBC Nations and Regions’ response to legislative and regulatory developments in all of the U.K.

Winnipeg, Canada-based CanWest Global Communications announced the appointment of Gerry Noble as chief executive officer of Fireworks Entertainment, the company’s production and distribution subsidiary. At the same time, current Fireworks CEO Jay Firestone, whose contract recently expired, will be leaving to ‘pursue other business ventures,’ but will remain available to Fireworks as an advisor.

The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has appointed Bruno Wu, group CEO of Sun Media China, as chairman of the iEMMYs Festival (November 23, 2003) in New York, U.S. Wu will take over from Bruce Paisner, president of Hearst Entertainment, who has been the iEMMYs festival chairman since its inaugural event in 1999.

New York, U.S.-based distrib Cowboy Pictures announced that Greg Williams has joined the company as a partner. Williams is the CEO of Lot 47 Films. Lot 47 staff members Vicki Loughery and Rick Thiedig will accompany him to Cowboy.

Fort Worth, U.S.-based Urban Television Network Corporation has named Jacob R. Miles, III, as president of the company’s Urban America Television Network. Miles is currently president of the Dallas-Fort Worth NAMIC, formerly known as the National Association of Minorities in Cable.

The Outdoor Channel, based in Temecula, U.S., announced the promotion of three of its key executives. Former director of advertising sales Greg Harrigan is now VP of advertising sales; VP of business development Wade Sherman is now senior VP of programming; and VP of affiliate sales Amy Hendrickson is now senior VP of affiliate sales and marketing.

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