TV biz vet takes reins from Rick Feldman

As the new head of NATPE, Rod Perth’s mandate is to chart a course for the org at a time of rapid change for the TV programming community it aims to serve.

Perth has broad experience in the biz, from his early years as a CBS O&O station manager in Chicago to serving as prexy of entertainment for USA Network to being a co-founder of cabler Reelz Channel. That range of experience and relationships will undoubtedly be vital on as Perth tries to position the National Assn. of Program Executives as a forum for helping industryites make sense of new business models and other big shifts in the programming and distribution landscape.

Perth’s appointment was announced Tuesday by NATPE co-chairs Jordan Levin and Chris Grant.

“Combined with his vast network of relationships and senior management skills, we believe Rod is ideally suited to evolve NATPE into a dynamic global organization relevant to all who touch content,” Levin and Grant said in a statement.

Perth succeeds Rick Feldman, who announced his plan to step down in February after nine years at the helm of the org. Feldman is credited with salvaging the org’s annual January conference by shifting the confab from its traditional focus on domestic syndie sales to a broader emphasis on networking and showcases for international buyers. NATPE also branched out to hosting program markets in Hungary and South Africa, plus local events such as the two-day PitchCon conference aimed at aspiring producers. The org will mark its 50th anniversary at the 2013 confab, to be held again in Miami.

Perth most recently headed his own consulting shingle, RHP Media Consulting. His long resume also includes a run as CBS’ head of latenight programming, where he was a key player in luring David Letterman from NBC to the Eye in 1992. Perth spent five years at USA Network, followed by a short tenure as head of Jim Henson Television.

He joined the startup venture that became Reelz Channel in the fall of 2000. The cabler faced an uphill climb in gaining cable and satellite distribution, but was up to 40 million homes by the time Perth exited in 2007.

In a statement, Perth said he finds “the prospect of developing and implementing a path for (NATPE’s) future to be an extremely exciting and challenging one.”

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