Exec expands purview to oversee I.D., Planet Green and Military
Exclusive: Discovery Communications has reorganized three of its cablers — Investigation Discovery, Planet Green, and Military Channel — into a single group led by Henry Schleiff.With the creation of a support structure underneath him, Schleiff’s title (prexy and g.m. of I.D., Military, and Planet Green) is more clearly one job, instead of three. The company is installing senior execs to head up both Planet Green and Military. Marc Etkind is moving from Discovery’s Animal Planet to Planet Green, where he’ll lead the net as senior vp of content strategy, and Ed Hersh has been upped to the same position at the Military Channel. Etkind’s shows for Animal Planet include “Finding Bigfoot” and “Infested.” Prior to working for Discovery Communications, his shingle Pinball produced content for Animal Planet and Discovery, as well as History. Both men will oversee programming development and the day-to-day affairs of their respective networks; Schleiff has had a direct hand in I.D. since its inception, and he will continue to run it directly. The reshuffle officially codifies all of Discovery’s solely-owned cable assets into three discrete groups under three execs: Eileen O’Neill handles Discovery, TLC, and Discovery Fit & Health; Marjorie Kaplan oversees Animal Planet and Science, and Schleiff handles the new unit (COO Peter Liguori oversees the company’s joint ventures). The new hierarchy has been slowly shifting into place — Schleiff has been overseeing operations at Military for over a year, and at Planet Green since the beginning of 2011 on an interim basis. For a while, Discovery Communications’s smaller networks were simply called the “emerging networks group” in-house. With some nets growing faster than others, though (Discovery chief topper David Zaslav touted I.D.’s growth in particular during last quarter’s earnings call), that name doesn’t quite fit. Meanwhile, Sara Kozak has been upped to senior vp of production for the group, and Doug Seybert has been promoted to senior vp of marketing.