Comcast Ups Banse

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Comcast Corp. promoted Amy Banse Wednesday, making her senior vice president of content development for the company and executive vice president of content development for its MSO, Comcast Cable Communications Inc.

In this dual role, Banse reports to Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and Steve Burke, Comcast’s chief operating officer and Comcast Cable’s president.

Previously, Banse served as Comcast’s VP of programming investments and executive VP of its programming-investments division.

With the promotion, Banse becomes the first woman to hold the post of corporate senior VP at Comcast. The step up the ladder will broaden her responsibilities in that she will be charged with developing content for all of Comcast’s platforms -- not only traditional video, but also video-on-demand and broadband, according to a Comcast spokesman.

The announcement answered industry speculation about whether or not Banse would be reporting to Jeff Shell when he comes on board as a programming czar at Comcast.

Shell, who left as CEO of Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. last month, is expected to join Comcast as the top executive who will actually operate and manage its content portfolio.

Comcast owns or has investments in networks such as E! Entertainment Television, Style, The Golf Channel, Outdoor Life Network, G4TechTV, TV One and four Comcast SportsNet regional sports networks.

Banse’s role at Comcast hasn’t been to run its networks, but to develop new cable networks and to find programming services for the company to finance.

With Shell on board, Comcast is expected to consolidate some of the operations for its varied networks. The company has declined to comment on whether Shell is coming aboard.

According to a Gemstar securities filing, Shell signed papers Dec. 9 agreeing not to “sign an employment agreement with another entity, or make an announcement of any intention to do so, until after Jan. 8.”

Several sources said Shell wouldn’t actually be joining Comcast until May, since he has to be available to consult for Gemstar until April 29, when his contract with the interactive-guide company is set to expire.