The Weinstein-backed Ovation channel has tapped a veteran of arts-focused cable networks Bravo and Trio to head its programming. Kris Slava, former Trio executive and current digital chief at Bravo, is moving from New York to Los Angeles to be Ovation’s programming chief, the network confirmed.
Tiny Ovation, which has only about 5.3 million subscribers, is gearing up for a relaunch, thanks to new backing from Hubbard Broadcasting, which has invested $56.5 million in the long-struggling venture. Veteran broadcaster Stanley S. Hubbard and his son Stanley E. Hubbard II have a deal granting them slots for three channels on DirecTV and are hoping to use those rights as leverage to secure carriage. The channel is backed by investment banker Lazard Freres, the Weinstein Co. and Tennis Channel Chairman Ken Solomon, who is acting chairman of Ovation.
Slava was VP of acquisitions and scheduling for Trio, a quirky, arts-focused cable channel, where he largely shaped the programming grid. He was VP of Trio’s digital content and acquisitions before the NBC Universal-owned basic-cable channel folded last November for lack of audience. Since March, Slava has been VP, digital content and acquisitions for sister arts/entertainment/pop-culture cable network Bravo. He is a longtime colleague of Bravo President Lauren Zalaznick from their time working together at Trio.
Bravo has relaunched its Website over the past few months with Slava at the helm, building microsites for various programs, including its popular reality show Project Runway.
Long-struggling Ovation got a boost of support in August when an investor group including Hubbard Media and arts-focused film company Weinstein took control of the channel with plans to overhaul its programming and increase distribution.
Hubbard, a well-known broadcaster, owns movie cable network ReelzChannel. The Weinstein Co., which also produces Bravo’s Project Runway, is controlled by Miramax Films founders Harvey and Bob Weinstein. The channel is also backed by a fund controlled by Lazard & Co., Perry Capital and Arcadia Investment Partners.
As of August, the channel planned to rebrand and program operas, ballets and artist biographies, as well as shows on more obscure facets of art, such as pottery and jewelry design.