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President Let Go at Programming Unit of Diller's USA Networks

April 20, 1999|BRIAN LOWRY

Ken Solomon has been let go as president of Studios USA Television, the programming unit of Barry Diller's USA Networks, during the key window when new prime-time programs are developed.

The move comes a month before the major networks set their programming lineups for next season. Solomon has been replaced by David Kissinger, whom Solomon hired two years ago to oversee comedy programming. Studios USA placed only a few new-series candidates at the networks this year, among them a spinoff of its popular NBC drama "Law & Order."

Such personnel moves have traditionally waited until after the network schedules have been set in May; however, Warner Bros. took a similar step in March, replacing TV President Tony Jonas with former Fox executive Peter Roth.

"Once we decided on a direction to go, it just made sense to go ahead and do it," said Studios USA Group President Robert Fleming. Studios USA has struggled as a prime-time television supplier, in part because the company lacks an alliance with a major network.

As a result, there has been speculation that Diller will focus more on producing for cable networks USA and the Sci-Fi Channel, which the company owns.

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