Discovery promotes Hollinger

Exec named new chief operating officer

Discovery Communications has promoted Mark Hollinger, president of global business and operations and general counsel, to take on the new post of chief operating officer.

“Today’s announcement,” said David Zaslav, prexy-CEO of Discovery Communications, “codifies what has been the reality for a long time: Mark is the operational leader of this company.”

Hollinger already oversees information technology, media services, administration, business affairs, corporate communications, corporate marketing and research and production management.

Discovery is planning to hire a new general counsel, but until that happens, Hollinger will continue to ride herd on legal and government affairs as well as standards and practices.

In his new role, Hollinger will run Discovery Studios, which produces some programming for the networks, led by Discovery Channel, TLC and Animal Planet. Also reporting to him will be Discovery Films, which commissions feature-length documentaries for theatrical release.

Hollinger said Discovery will continue to rely on outside producers for much of the programming on the networks. The most visible of these arrangements is with the BBC, which produces a number of joint ventures with Discovery, including last year’s high-rated and well-received “Planet Earth” docu series. “But a lot of what goes on our air we can produce cheaper and more efficiently inhouse,” he said.

The chief operating officers from Discovery’s various businesses, while continuing to report to their presidents, will also now have a dotted-line connection to Hollinger.

Hollinger joined Discovery in 1991 as VP and deputy general counsel.