Prexy ankles Henson TV post

Perth setting sail, greenlight was red

NEW YORK — Rod Perth has resigned after 15 months as president of the Jim Henson TV Group Worldwide.

Henson announced the resignation in a three-paragraph press release Thursday. Perth was unavailable for comment, but sources say he became frustrated at not being able to greenlight more programming and not getting more oversight over the Odyssey and Kermit cable networks, as originally envisioned when Henson hired him in March 1999.

Perth’s disgruntlement was exacerbated last February when Germany’s EM-TV, a public company, bought the privately held Henson Co. for $680 million in cash and stock.

The one series that Perth took pride in at the Henson Co. was “Farscape,” the big-budgeted futuristic thriller commissioned by the Sci Fi Channel two years ago when Perth was president of entertainment for the USA Networks, the parent of Sci Fi.

Sci Fi had just renewed “Farscape,” its bellwether original series, for a third season.

In a statement, Perth said of his bosses at Henson, “I wish them well now that they are a part of EM-TV’s ambitious global expansion plans.”

Charlie Rivkin, president and CEO of the Henson Co., was unavailable for comment. He said in a spare press release, “Everybody at the Jim Henson Co. wishes Rod well in his future endeavors.”

During his five-year stint at USA Networks, Perth developed such series as “Pacific Blue,” “La Femme Nikita” and “Silk Stalkings,” and guided USA in its commissioning of as many as 22 made-for-cable movies each year.

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