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Comcast Names CEO of New Cable Venture

Former Discovery exec Johnathan Rodgers will lead a network aimed at black viewers.

March 26, 2003|From Reuters

Comcast Corp. said Tuesday that it had named Johnathan Rodgers as president and chief executive of a new cable television network targeting black viewers.

Comcast, based in Lanham, Md., said the network would be launched this year in conjunction with Radio One Inc., a broadcaster aimed at black and urban listeners.

Rodgers was president of Discovery Networks, U.S., for six years, during which he was responsible for programming, marketing, research, distribution and operations. Discovery Networks includes the Discovery Channel, the Learning Channel, Animal Planet, Discovery Kids and the Travel Channel.

Comcast is the nation's largest cable operator. Radio One is the largest radio broadcaster in its target market.

"Johnathan has an incredible track record in operating top-quality, financially successful television ventures," said Alfred C. Liggins III, president and CEO of Radio One and chairman of the to-be-named cable network. "While at the Discovery Networks, he helped launch Animal Planet and relaunch the Travel Channel."

The company said the new network would include a mix of original and existing programming, including scripted and unscripted dramas, sitcoms, game shows, movies, plays and newsmagazines.

During Rodgers' tenure at Discovery Networks, the Discovery Channel shattered cable documentary ratings records with the premieres of "Walking with Dinosaurs," seen by an average of 10.7 million viewers, and "Raising the Mammoth," viewed by an average of 10.1 million.

Before that, Rodgers was at Viacom Inc.-owned CBS, where he held a variety of executive positions, including serving as the president of the highly profitable television stations division. During his 20-year career there, he also served as an award-winning local station news director and as executive producer at CBS News.

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