Discovery sees the road to Hollywood as a way out of its recent ratings slump.
The cable networks will establish an L.A. base, headed by former E! Networks executive Vice President Mark Sonnenberg.
In a newly created position – head of West Coast Entertainment – Sonnenberg will try to build ties with the creative and production communities in L.A., seeking out new producers, program suppliers, and on-air talent. He will report to Discovery Networks, U.S. President Billy Campbell.
Campbell faces an uphill battle to improve ratings on several of Discovery’s cable networks, which include the Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, and Travel Channel.
TLC, for example, dropped 30% in prime for the second quarter to an average 680,000 total viewers from 975,000 total viewers during second-quarter 2004.
In the same period, Discovery dropped 15% in prime to an average 1.023 million total viewers.