Discovery To Centralize Production

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Discovery Networks announced three promotions Thursday as part of a restructuring that will bring its U.S.-based networks’ production assets, staff and resources under one umbrella.

As the new president of U.S. production, 20-year Discovery veteran Clark Bunting will head the effort to reorganize production teams by content genres, rather than specific networks. Bunting was most recently executive VP, Discovery U.S. Networks Group.

Science Channel Senior VP Steve Burns was promoted to the role of executive VP of production and chief science editor. Carol Tomko was upped to executive VP of production. She was previously senior VP and GM of FitTV.

In announcing the executive moves, Discovery Networks U.S. President Bill Campbell welcomed the centralization move. “By organizing the unit by genre, we can maximize the quality and innovation of our productions and continue to bring viewers across the U.S. the most powerful, real-world stories anywhere on television,” he said in a statement.

As a result of the formation of the U.S. production group, Discovery has also consolidated operations of some of its analog and emerging networks, grouping like networks under appropriate general managers.

The move comes as most of Discovery’s cable networks continue to face dismal ratings. Discovery, for example, was down 19 percent in total viewers this summer and TLC was down 16 percent.

In June, Discovery announced plans to establish an L.A. base for its cable networks, headed by former E! Networks executive VP of Entertainment Mark Sonnenberg in a newly created position as head of West Coast Entertainment. The move was aimed at building ties with the creative and production communities in L.A. – finding new producers, program suppliers and on-air talent.

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