Petrick to Step Down from The WB

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Jed Petrick, president and chief operating officer of The WB Television Network, will leave his posts in April, he said Tuesday.

"This decision has been made after too many sleepless nights and much soul searching," Petrick said in a prepared statement. "I have spent the last 17 years of a 25-year career working at small, aggressive start-up companies, and this past summer, after almost nine years at The WB, I began to contemplate what the next big thing in my business life could be. The business is going to continue changing dramatically over the next few years. I now have the freedom to decide how I play in it."

Petrick has been at The WB since 1994, when network founder Jamie Kellner brought him on as head of media sales.

He was promoted to president and COO Jan. 17, 2001, and, in that position, he is responsible for advertising sales, Kids' WB!, standards and practice and research. All of those departments will now report to The WB co-CEO Jordan Levin.

Petrick also oversaw network distribution, which includes affiliate relations and The WB 100+ Station Group, and those responsibilities will go to Garth Ancier, co-chairman of The WB.

Last October, The WB's founder, chairman and CEO, Jamie Kellner, announced his intention to retire officially in May. Kellner appointed Levin his heir apparent, giving him the title of co-CEO through this broadcast season. Garth Ancier returned from Turner Broadcasting System Inc. and began taking over Kellner's chairman duties, while Petrick remained president and COO.

Petrick came to The WB after a brief stint as vice president of sales at The Baseball Network, a joint venture between Major League Baseball, NBC and ABC. Prior to that, he had created his own sports-marketing company.

From 1988-92, Petrick worked for Kellner at Fox, helping the team of Kellner, Ancier and Barry Diller to start up that network.

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