Discovery Recruits Turner Programming Executive

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Turner Broadcasting programming veteran Ken Schwab is joining Discovery Channel as senior vice president of programming, a key position on the network’s senior leadership team beginning in January, officials said Tuesday.

Schwab joins Discovery Channel from his most recent post as senior vice president of programming for TBS and TNT, where he was responsible for oversight of all programming, scheduling and acquisition selection strategies for the two networks.  Taking over TBS in 2003, Schwab revamped the network’s line-up of top-rated comedies—Family Guy, The Office, My Name is Earl, and Tyler Perry’s House of Payne—that is resulting in record ratings growth among young adult demos.

In Schwab’s new role at Discovery Channel, he will be responsible for planning, directing, and executing the programming strategy for the flagship brand. Working closely with John Ford, Discovery Channel president and general manager, Schwab will create a development and overall strategic plan and direction for the network.

He will have oversight of all programming activities, including program planning, scheduling and programming budgets.  In addition, he will work closely with new media to further integrate the content on both platforms.

Schwab will also partner with the network’s development team to guarantee that all content aligns with corporate and division strategies.

“With the appointment of Ken, the network’s leadership team is further bolstered to be the best in the business,” said Ford, to whom Schwab will report. “Ken’s 14 years of experience at Turner and his time in public broadcasting make him a perfect programming executive to drive Discovery Channel forward. His proven track record and his deep knowledge of programming ensure that Ken will be a key player on the Discovery team.”

While at TNT, Schwab helped transform the programming line-up with dramas such as Bones, Cold Case, Law & Order and ER, in conjunction with the network’s “We Know Drama” branding. His aggressive programming moves resulted in five consecutive years of total-day wins and solid primetime growth among key demos, network officials said.

In conjunction with the linear channels, Schwab also had oversight of the series programming for TBS and TNT’s online destinations—tbs.com and tnt.tv—with streaming and VOD tied to network strategy to ensure complementary offerings.

Prior to joining TNT, Schwab served as senior vice president of worldwide program planning and acquisitions for Turner Entertainment Group, where he identified and analyzed potential product for the networks worldwide.  Most notable was the unprecedented output deal with DreamWorks SKG, in addition to being instrumental in the company’s licensing of Law & Order.

Schwab joined Turner in 1994 where he developed and ran the programming department of Turner Classic Movies.

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