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Exec Shuffle

Lions Gate Releasing has appointed Jay Peckos VP and general sales manager. Peckos will be responsible for overseeing Lions Gate’s national sales strategy and will participate in all aspects of the company’s film marketing. He reports to co-presidents Tom Ortenberg and Mark Urman.

During his 25-year career, Peckos has spearheaded the sales and distribution campaigns for such acclaimed films as “Rainman,” “A Fish Called Wanda,” “Moonstruck,” “Dances With Wolves,” “Silence of the Lambs” and “Ulee’s Gold.”

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Ken Murphy has been appointed president of Discovery Channel.

Murphy, who has been with Discovery’s parent company, Toronto-based NetStar, since its inception in 1984, most recently held the post of VP of production at Discovery. Murphy will be replacing outgoing prexy Trina McQueen, who is moving to the post of executive VP at CTV.

Other shifts at the specialty network include the promotion of Meg Pinto, formerly VP, sales and marketing, to senior VP, sales and marketing; Paul Lewis, former executive producer of inhouse productions, to VP, programming; and John Panikkar, former director of programming, to VP of production.

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Los Angeles and London PR company Dennis Davidson Associates has upped Alexandra Pollock to the rank of publicist. Pollock was previously an assistant to the praisery’s Elliot Chang.

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Barbara Goen has been upped to senior VP of communications for KCET. In her new position, Goen will oversee the station’s on-air membership campaigns. Goen joined KCET in 1980 as publicity manager.

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Mark Walker, former assistant to the director at Columbia TriStar has been promoted to director of print production, creative advertising for Columbia Pictures Worldwide Marketing. Walker will continue to specialize in creating newspaper and magazine campaigns while managing all creative outdoor product for such upcoming films as “Blue Streak,” “Stuart Little,” “The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc,” “Crazy in Alabama” and “The Patriot.”

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Palmer Brown has been promoted to marketing director, DVD and special markets, at Artisan Home Entertainment. He will be responsible for developing and fulfilling strategic marketing plans for DVD and special market video releases, as well as strategic positioning, consumer and trade cross promotions, media buying and budget control.

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PJ Foley has been promoted to CG animation director at Foundation Imaging. In his new post, Foley will work on the upcoming TV series “Starship Troopers: Bug Wars.” Foley joined Foundation Imaging in 1997 as visual effects animator.

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Bravo Networks has announced several promotions. Krissie Verbic has been upped to director of national accounts and affiliate marketing. Verbic, who joined Bravo in 1991, will work with the MSOs to create targeted campaigns and partnerships to better position the company’s products.

Angela Barrick is now regional director for the Western region. Barrick, who has been with Bravo since 1992, will now oversee the day-to-day operations of the region.

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Hamdon Entertainment has promoted Linda Ross from VP of finance to senior VP of finance and administration. Ross will oversee all financial and administrative activities of Hamdon. Previously, Ross was the assistant controller for Turner Pictures Worldwide.

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Jason Sikes has joined GRB Entertainment as VP of development. Sikes will augment the company’s presence in the domestic arena by broadening its reality-based production and distribution slate. Before joining GRB, Sikes was CEO of Olson/Sikes productions.

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Bela Bunyik has been chosen by the Hungarian Independent Producers Assn. as its North American representative. Bunyik will be responsible for establishing relationships between the HIP and North American production companies for film projects. Bunyik is the president of Bunyik Entertainment.

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Nelvana has appointed Cathy Laughton managing director of its London-based operations. Prior to joining Nelvana, Laughton was the director of international television distribution at the Jim Henson company.

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Debra Balamos has been upped to Western region VP of field marketing at Showtime Networks. Balamos will maximize revenue from all Showtime services, including cable, wireless, DBS and telecommunications. She will also develop promotional campaigns for Showtime programming. Most recently, Balamos was field marketing director for Showtime. She first teamed with the cabler in 1983 as a Chicago-based area manager.

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Intl. Film Guarantors has appointed two veteran production experts as executives. Jake Jacobson has been tapped production executive for film and television. Michael Harker has been named director of post-production.

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VH1 has promoted Jane Lipsitz from director of development to VP of series development. Lipsitz will oversee the development of all genres of programming for VH1, including animation, sitcoms, reality video-driven programming and drama. Previously, Lipsitz worked at Polygram Diversified Entertainment.

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