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Opatut ankles Food post

Exec, Girard aided network's 17% ratings increase

Eileen Opatut has ankled her post as senior VP of programming and production for the Food Network.

Opatut’s last day was Jan. 16. A cabler spokesman confirmed her departure but declined further comment other than to say she left to explore new opportunities.

A Food exec since 1997, Opatut helped usher in a period of record ratings and growth for the Scripps-owned cabler. Under her watch, along with prexy Judy Girard, Food Network climbed 17% in household ratings last year, having broadened its reach by combining the traditional how-to cooking shows with an eclectic mix of lifestyle and personality-driven fare.

Senior VP-general manager Brooke Bailey Johnson, a former A&E programming exec who joined Food in May, will now oversee Opatut’s charge along with programming veeps Kathleen Finch, who will manage primetime, and Bob Tuschman, who will be responsible for all “In the Kitchen” instructional shows.

The Food spokesman said Opatut would not immediately be replaced.

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