HSNi taps Genachowski

Barry Diller’s HSNi Broadcasting has named respected Beltway insider Julius Genachowski as general counsel and senior VP of corporate development.

Genachowski, formerly a top aide to recently departed FCC chairman Reed Hundt, will serve as chief legal eagle for the HSN Inc. division that encompasses the TV station groups Silver King Broadcasting and SF Broadcasting. Based in New York, Genachowski will report to HSNi Broadcasting prexy Jon Miller.

Genachowski’s hire suggests that HSN is gearing up to lobby the Federal Communications Commission to relax the federal duopoly rule barring companies from owning more than one TV station in a market, something HSN chairman Diller has sought in the past.

“We intend to be actively involved in the continuing dialogue on the future of (the TV) industry and Julius is the perfect person to spearhead those discussions,” said Miller in announcing the appointment.

Genachowski’s role in business development will include overseeing legal matters related to programming, production and acquisitions. He’ll work closely with Silver King exec veepees Doug Binzak and Adam Ware.

“The wonderful thing about being at the FCC for the past three years is being able to see a changing communications landscape from the top of a hill,” said Genachowski. “Now I can take what I’ve learned and apply that to a growing, exciting communications company.”

Genachowski joined the FCC in 1994 as special counsel to then-general counsel William Kennard, the commission vet who ultimately succeeded Hundt as chairman last fall. Genachowski later became chief counsel to Hundt.

Prior to the FCC, the Harvard Law School grad served as a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice David Souter. He also clerked for retired Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan Jr.

In the 1980s, Genachowski served on the staff of the House committee investigating the Iran-Contra affair. He also worked as press secretary and legislative assistant to U.S. Rep. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).

HSNi Broadcasting is expected to change its name to USA Broadcasting once its parent company has completed its purchase of the USA Network cabler and other domestic TV assets from Universal Studios.

HSNi jointly owns the SF Broadcasting group, comprising four major-market Fox affiliates, with News Corp. The 10 wholly owned UHF outlets in the Silver King group are poised to undergo a major transformation from Home Shopping Network affils to locally oriented indies starting next spring.

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