New Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. CEO Jeff Shell made a pivotal appointment, anointing Fox
Cable Networks Group executive Ray Hopkins executive vice president of affiliate sales and
Hopkins' job will be to sell cable operators on Gemstar's three main TV
products -- the passive scrolling TV Guide Channel, the digital TV Guide
Interactive and the TV Games horse-racing channel and digital service.
Ousted Gemstar chairman Henry Yuen had poor relations with the cable
industry. "We know there's a lot of work there," said Shell, who ran Fox Cable
until this past spring.
Hopkins spent five years in affiliate sales at the division of News Corp.,
which owns a major interest in Gemstar.
Hopkins already has a crisis to contend with. Cablevision Systems Corp. last week decided
to drop TV Guide from some of its systems -- about 1.4 million of its 3 million
subscribers. The company said it will use Tribune Co.'s Zap2It service,
contending that it's more flexible. It's also free, versus 8 cents or so monthly
for TV Guide Channel.
Industry executives believe Cablevision is primarily trying to save money
due to the company's financial crisis. However, Cablevision has long
employed non-TV Guide products, including ginning up a home-grown guide on many