Affiliate architect: Jamie Kellner

Jamie Kellner, who was president and chief operating officer of Fox Broadcasting Co. from 1986 through 1992, is the man who put together the Fourth Network’s chain of 140 affiliates.

Formerly with Orion, Viacom, and CBS, Kellner made the initial pitch to independent stations around the country.

“It was the genius of Jamie Kellner, along with David Johnson and their staff, that set up the network structure,” says Garth Ancier. “Jamie had a syndication background that was invaluable in knowing which stations and which alliances would make sense, and in making the whole thing work. He guided all of us through it.”

Preston Padden, Fox’s executive VP, affiliates, since 1990, was president of the Association of Independent Television Stations (INTV), based in Washington, D.C., when the Fox Network was launched.

“Jamie Kellner came by to see us at INTV, ran through the pitch and asked us for our comments,” Padden recalls. “The pitch was really very simple. It was that independent television stations were going to have trouble staying competitive unless they could find a reliable, consistent source of original, primetime programming, and that Fox represented perhaps the last opportunity to find that.”

Kellner is now reportedly working with Warner Bros. in developing a fifth TV network.

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