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Gaither Exits TV One

7/22/2005 8:00 PM Eastern

Beverly Hills, Calif. — TV One executive vice president of programming and production Lee Gaither has left the company to pursue other interests.

Network president Johnathan Rodgers said Gaither's departure was primarily “geographical,” adding that he wanted a greater programming presence at the network's Silver Spring, Md., headquarters, and Gaither decided to remain in Los Angeles for family reasons. Rodgers said the network has hired the search firm Ann Carlson Associates to secure a new programming executive.

Gaither oversaw the launch of several series, including G. Garvin, a culinary show featuring the former The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. LLC and Morton's Restaurant Group executive chef; and Makeover Manor, the first transformation program focusing exclusively on beauty and style tips for African-Americans.

“When we hired Lee, I had a real hope and expectation that he would move to the Washington, D.C./Silver Spring area,” Rodgers said. “It's important for us as a new network to have a programming source in the building so that all of the other departments could feed off of it. We really appreciate Lee's contribution to the point where he will remain a consultant to me.”

Rodgers would not say if the network would seek to hire a major movie or TV director along the lines of Reginald Hudlin, who recently took over the entertainment reins at Black Entertainment Television; or Robert Townsend, who heads up programming for Black Family Channel. He said, however, the new executive will be well-versed in entertainment, rather than lifestyle programming.

“We're going to eventually transition more into entertainment programming, so given this opportunity to bring in a new executive I will look for someone who will focus on the entertainment aspect of our programming.”

The network — which will become rated by Nielsen Media Research this fall — plans to continue its development of original programming with the launch of several new series later this year.

TV One has teamed up with civil-rights activist the Rev. Al Sharpton to create a talk/interview show that will take place in barbershops around the country. A reality take on the successful Barbershop movies, Cuttin' Up with Al Sharpton will showcase celebrities, politicians and other interesting characters discussing the issues of the day with barbers and shop patrons, Rodgers said during the network's Television Critics Association Tour presentation here July 17.

Another reality series, Renovate My House — hosted by former Trading Spaces designer Kia Steaves Dickerson — will explore renovated homes and gardens of African-American homes around the country, Rodgers said.

The network will also bow Off the Pages, a female-targeted talk show featuring erotic fiction author Zane, who will discuss relationships, sexuality and marriage in an effort to help women build empowerment and self-respect.

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