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Sundance net dials up programmer

Michalchyshyn finds new Alliance

NEW YORK — The Sundance Channel has placed all of its programming and marketing in the hands of Laura Michalchyshyn, most recently senior VP of dramatic programming for Alliance Atlantis Communications.

Her title at Sundance is executive VP of programming and marketing.

At Alliance Atlantis since 1997, she was responsible for programming 13 cable channels based in Toronto, led by Showcase Television.

“My channels were the most risk-taking in the country,” said Michalchyshyn, who has relocated from Toronto to New York City. She bought American shows like “Six Feet Under” and “Queer As Folk,” running them uncut, and commissioned series that pushed the boundaries of content.

A perfect fit

Larry Aidem, president and CEO of Sundance Channel, said that background will be perfect for Sundance. Because it’s a minipay service that doesn’t carry advertising, Sundance runs R-rated movies uncut, has scheduled controversial docus such as “Bush’s Brain” and played a five-hour special tied to Bruce Springsteen’s pro-John Kerry “National Anthem Tour: Inside the Vote for Change.”

“We’ve ruffled a few feathers,” said Aidem. And based on Michalchyshyn’s work in Canada, he continued, “both Robert Redford and I became big fans of Linda’s. Redford was very involved in this appointment.” Redford is one of the owners of Sundance with NBC Universal and Showtime Networks.

Reporting to Michalchyshyn on the programming side are Adam Pincus, senior VP of original programming, and Christian Vesper, VP of film programming.

In marketing, Michalchyshyn will supervise Kirk Iwanowski, senior VP of marketing; Keira Alexandra, VP and creative director; and Meredith Breitbarth, VP of advertising and creative services.