Exclusive: John Ford exits ION Television

Former Discovery Channel topper John Ford (pictured) has stepped down as ION Television's president of programming, realscreen has learned, exiting the U.S. network after less than a year in the job.
September 20, 2011

ION Television’s president of programming John Ford (pictured) has left the company, realscreen has learned, exiting the U.S. network after less than a year in the job.

Realscreen understands from sources close to the situation that Ford departed last week and does not have a new job lined up, however the departure is not understood to be acrimonious. He declined to comment when contacted.

The departure comes after Ford, who was formerly president and general manager of the U.S. Discovery Channel, arrived at ION last November, to much fanfare.

Reporting to ION Media Networks CEO Brandon Burgess, Ford was tasked with overseeing all aspects of ION Television’s content activities, including continued acquisitions, original programming, scheduling, and creative strategy and positioning.

During his brief tenure, Lauren Gellert was recruited from Zodiak USA to work with him as ION Media Network’s VP of production and development, as previously revealed.

ION owns and operates 59 television stations across America, reaching more than 98 million homes in the U.S. via broadcast, cable and satellite.

To date, it has largely acquired content, however with Ford and Gellert’s arrival, it was due to begin development of its own original series for its stations, including its flagship general entertainment network ION Television, which airs series, theatrical and made-for-TV movies, specials and sports.

A spokeswoman for ION Media Networks did not respond to requests for comment at press time.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.