Restructuring consolidates management
In the latest restructuring prompted by the Barry Diller-led buyout of Universal’s domestic TV arm, Universal has consolidated the management of its overseas TV channels under Tony Garland, who has been upped to president of Universal Studios Networks.
As part of the reconfiguration, Rafael Pastor, president of USA Networks Intl., has resigned. Garland, who is based in London, will take on Pastor’s duties of overseeing the far-flung operations of the USA Latin America, USA Brazil and Sci-Fi Europe channels, in addition to U’s action-adventure and movie-oriented channels in the works for France, Spain, Italy and Germany.
The consolidation of management of U’s international channels comes on the heels of the formation of USA Networks Inc., a new entity resulting from the $4.07 billion merger of U’s domestic TV operations with Diller’s HSN Inc.
The deal between Diller and U calls for Diller’s company to handle the domestic TV market, including oversight of domestic cablers USA and Sci-Fi Channel, while U’s remaining TV execs will focus on the international side. Garland’s promotion to prexy of Universal Studios Networks was unveiled Tuesday by Blair Westlake, chairman of Universal Networks and Worldwide Television Group.
“Tony’s proven leadership skills and strategic vision make him ideally suited to head the global expansion of Universal’s networks under our newly reorganized television group,” said Westlake. “By putting everything under a single leader, we make the decision-making process simpler,” said Westlake.
Garland also will serve as the liaison between the domestic USA and Sci-Fi cablers and the foreign offshoots.
Westlake said Tuesday that more changes are afoot within U’s remaining TV operations in the wake of the Diller buyout. Westlake wouldn’t elaborate, but he said the further restructuring is due in the areas of international sales and administration. U’s international sales arm is headed by prexy Armando Nunez and Steve Jarmus, senior veepee of worldwide pay television.
In January, U consolidated its remaining worldwide production activities under studio vet Ned Nalle, who was upped to prexy of worldwide production for Universal Networks and Worldwide TV Group.
Commenting on the departure of Pastor, a five-year veteran of USA, Westlake said, “Rafael and his entire team have estab-lished successful channels in Europe, Latin America and Brazil, which is an accomplishment in three very competitive markets.”
Garland came to Universal last summer, just two months before the Diller buyout was announced, as senior veepee and managing director of Universal Studios Networks. Garland was tapped to spearhead the launch of U-branded channels on emerging digital and subscription TV services in Europe and elsewhere.
Universal, like other U.S. majors, made a point of securing channel-carriage commitments on the new subscription platforms as part of wide-ranging, megabuck TV and movie output deals struck over the past two years with major Euro-TV players, among them Germany’s Kirch Group and France’s Canal Plus.
U’s “13th Street” channel, devoted to action-adventure fare, bowed in France last November; additional “13th Street” channels and movie-oriented channels are set to debut in Italy, Spain and Germany within the next year.
Prior to joining Universal, Garland was exec VP of MTV Networks Intl. He also worked for HBO in its early years, launching the premium cabler’s first sales and marketing division.