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Heyworth ankles Viewer’s Choice

Exec exits in wake of merger

NEW YORK — Jim Heyworth, one of the pioneering executives in the pay-per-view business, has resigned as president and CEO of Viewer’s Choice.

Heyworth, 55, who was president and CEO of Viewer’s Choice from its founding in 1987, said the company has changed in the past two months, since it absorbed 800 of the cable systems that were clients of Viewer’s Choice’s main competitor Request Television, the PPV distributor that folded its operation on July 1.

Although Heyworth declined to characterize the nature of the change, insiders said he became convinced that his decision-making freedom would have suffered under a new, more aggressive management committee. The old board of directors gave Heyworth plenty of room to devise blueprints that took Viewer’s Choice from square one 11 years ago to a 36-channel distributor of PPV movies and events, reaching 27 million homes in the U.S.

The channel’s management committee has hired the executive-search firm of Korn/Ferry Intl. to find Heyworth’s successor. Some of the names that have surfaced include Mark Greenberg, executive VP of corporate marketing and communications for Showtime Networks; Scott Kurnit, the new-media entrepreneur and former VC executive who owns his own firm the Mining Co.; Jim English, president of Playboy Networks Worldwide and a former head of programming for VC; and Jeff Bernstein, former senior VP of programming and marketing for Request.

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