Food cabler gets a new head chef

Girard to take over Ober's post

NEW YORK — Eric Ober, the former CBS News president who has headed up the Food Network for the past 14 months, will exit his post as the cabler’s president and general manager, the company announced Thursday.

Judy Girard, a senior VP, programming and content development at Food Net’s parent company E.W. Scripps, has been named as his replacement. Girard will become senior VP and G.M. of the net.

Ober, who will remain at Food through the end of the month, will take on new duties at Scripps. A spokesman for the Food Network declined to comment on Ober’s new title, but, according to a statement, he will be focusing on the development of video content for new-media applications. In his new position, Ober, who joined Scripps in 1997 as president and G.M. of Scripps Prods., will work closely with Frank Gardner, senior VP, Scripps.

“Running the Food Network has been extremely rewarding, successful and fun, but the opportunity to join Frank in this exciting initiative was something I just couldn’t pass up,” said Ober in a statement.

Food Network’s primetime ratings rose from a 0.3 to a 0.4 in cable homes in 1999, a 33% leap, according to Nielsen Media Research. The net is in 44 million homes.

Prior to joining Scripps, Girard held senior management posts at Americast (a joint venture of Disney, Bell South, SBC Communications, Ameritech and GTE Corp), Lifetime, NBC and WNBC-TV.

Ober was president of CBS News from 1990 to 1996. Previously, he ran the CBS O&O television station group.

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