Exec Shuffle

WebChoice Inc. has upped Valerie Gilbert from senior veep to prexy of the Santa Monica-based company. Gilbert is in the process of leading WebChoice’s worldwide launch this fall with programming from CBS Eyemark.

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Global Internet solutions company iXL Inc. has announced that John Farina has been appointed prexy of the company’s Los Angeles office. Farina was formerly president and CEO of the Quintar Co.

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TVN has tapped Tony Ciesniewski as VP of network operations and engineering. In his new position, Ciesniewski will oversee all aspects of TVN’s digital network operations center. He joins TVN from Kelly Broadcasting Co. in Sacramento. TVN has also upped four of its network operations execs. Eric Levey has been named VP of on-air operations and telecommunications; Joshua Kaplan has been bumped to director of on-air operations; Robert Bruce has been boosted to director of compression, encryption and technical support; and Mark Mansperger has been buoyed to director of access control.

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United Video Satellite Group has tapped Elaine Parrish as president of network sales. Parrish, former VP of sales and affiliate marketing for the Game Show Network, will oversee the day-to-day operation of the UVNS and its various divisions. Her duties will include the development of strategies, objectives and standards for those divisions operating directly in supplying services to multichannel video service providers in cable, satellite and other markets.

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Two new execs have been appointed at National Geographic Channels Worldwide. Janet Vissering has been named VP of international acquisitions, and Mark Green has been added as director of international acquisitions. In her new position, Vissering will oversee the acquisition of programming for all National Geographic Channel outlets worldwide. Green will be responsible for identifying and contracting the licensing of programming for the company. Both Vissering and Green most recently worked at Discovery Networks Intl.

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Gordon Beck has been promoted to senior VP, production and sports for USA Networks. Beck, who was previously VP/executive producer for USA Networks, will continue to oversee all of USA Sports. Beck joined USA in 1980 as an associate producer for sports. He spearheaded USA’s use of the HelmetCam for the World League of American football. The device earned USA a sports Emmy for technical achievement in 1992.

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The Food Network has appointed Melinda Fishman as VP, programming and production, and Michael John Smith as VP, creative services. In her new job, Fishman will supervise the cable web’s production and oversee future program development. Most recently, Fishman ran her own media consulting practice, with clients in broadcast and cable television, including the Food Network. As the Food Network’s VP of creative services, Smith will be responsible for managing the creation of all on-air and off-air promotion, show openings, network branding, logo and graphic design and the creation of all ads and collateral material. Smith joins the Food Network from the Disney Channel, where he spent eight years, most recently as executive director of on-air promotion.

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AIX Entertainment has named Artie Weitz veep of sales and marketing at the company, which was the first to release DVDs in the U.S. market. Weitz formerly served as VP and general manager for Pacific ArtsVideo, as well as director of marketing for Saban Home Entertainment.

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Ray Scalice has been appointed veepee of business development for 3-D, animation and visual effects company OCS/Pixel Magic. Scalice was veep of Buena Vista Digital Effects at Disney before working for Pacific Title as veep and general manager of Pacific Title Digital.

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Entertainment media group, The Britt Allcroft Co., has tapped David Jacobs as VP, group head of licensing In his new position, Jacobs will be responsible for expanding the licensing activities around “Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends” in North and South America. Jacobs came to the company from Children’s Television Workshop.

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Joanna Bistany has been upped to senior veepee, ABC News. Bostany will have oversight responsibility for a variety of programming issues. She will also act as the liaison between the news division and ABC Television Network. Bistany most recently worked for the network as veep and executive-in-charge of “Nightline” and “This Week.”

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