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Discovery Health tones up with Reid

News vet to become sr. VP, general manager

NEW YORK — Discovery Health Channel has tapped a 25-year veteran of news and documentary production, Bob Reid, as senior VP and general manager. In effect he will serve as chief executive of the network.

John Ford, president of the content group for Discovery Networks U.S., said Reid’s background is vital to the success of Discovery Health because “we’re a production-intensive operation.”

Discovery Health can’t fall back on studio-bound, single-camera, doctor-call-in shows, Ford said, because they’ve never delivered a wide audience, either in broadcast or cable.

“Instead,” he said, “we’ve got to tell stories. If we use doctors, they’ve got to be good correspondents, getting to the bottom of medical mysteries.”

Reid’s previous post was VP of production for Discovery Channel, which he joined in 1997 as an executive producer. He worked on such Discovery specials as “Titanic Live,” “Live From a Shark Cage” and “Mars Live.” He succeeds Kathy Quattrone, who resigned six weeks ago.

Before Discovery, Reid, worked for 3-1/2 years at Fox News, 11 at NBC News and seven at CBS News.

Discovery Health started on cable two years ago and now reaches 27 million subscribers. Ford said that various rollout agreements with cable operators will put the channel in 52 million homes by December 2003, in a mix of analog and cable tiers.

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