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Alliance Atlantis rejigs specialty TV

Bolen consolidates number of senior VPs

TORONTO — Alliance Atlantis is shuffling and streamlining its specialty TV operations on the heels of the departure of Laura Michalchyshyn, who is headed to New York to helm the programming division of the Sundance Channel.

“It’s a little creative cabinet shuffle,” said VP programming Norm Bolen. “I really am trying to give people a chance to do new and different things.”

With Michalchyshyn’s departure as VP programming for Showcase Diva, Showcase Action and the Independent Film Channel, Bolen has consolidated the number of senior VPs covering the company’s 13 specialty channels from three to two, divided into lifestyle and dramatic streams.

John Gill becomes senior VP, programming, of AAC’s dramatic channels, which include History, Showcase, Showcase Diva, Showcase Action and the Independent Film Channel. Gill was formerly senior VP of the company’s factual specialty services, BBC Canada and BBC Kids.

Reporting to Gill will be Cindy Witten, who becomes VP programming for History, and Emily Morgan, who takes on the VP programming post for Showcase Action, Showcase Diva and the Independent Film Channel.

Kirstine Layfield becomes senior VP, programming, for the lifestyle channels including Food Network, HGTV, Life, BBC Canada, BBC Kids, National Geographic, Discovery Health and Fine Living.

Working with Layfield are Vanessa Case, VP programming for Life Network and the National Geographic channel, Karen Gelbart, VP programming for Fine Living, Food Network and HGTV, and Jody Read, VP programming at Discovery Health, BBC Kids and BBC Canada.

Erica Benson, VP programming for Life and Discovery Health since 2001, was pink-slipped.

“With the knowledge that we already have the strongest programming team in the country,” Bolen wrote to staff in an internal memo, “we decided to make it even stronger by streamlining our structure and shuffling some responsibilities.”