In a key hire, Geraldine Laybourne's Oxygen Media has
recruited Mary Murano from AMC Networks to be senior vice president of affiliate sales for
women's network Oxygen, which launches next year.
Murano, executive vice president of distribution and
affiliate marketing for American Movie Classics and Romance Classics, is leaving this week
to join Oxygen.
"She's done a wonderful job for us here, and we
wish her well in her new venture," AMC Networks president Kate McEnroe said.
Oxygen confirmed that it had hired Murano, adding that she
will report to C.J. Kettler, Oxygen's president of sales and marketing. Murano, whose
start date wasn't disclosed, couldn't be reached for comment.
McEnroe will fill in for Murano until a replacement is
named, which is expected sometime in the next six weeks.
Murano is a longtime veteran of AMC and Romance, which are
owned by Rainbow Media Holdings Inc., part of Cablevision Systems Corp.
Romance is one of the few existing networks that positions
itself as targeted toward women, which is also Oxygen's strategy.
Gaining distribution will be Oxygen's key hurdle. This
past spring, Laybourne said announcements about affiliation deals would be forthcoming.
Over the next two years, AT&T Broadband & Internet
Services has promised to give Oxygen 7 million subscribers, analog and digital, contingent
on other cable operators committing to carry it to another 5 million subscribers.
There has been speculation that Oxygen will unveil its
affiliation agreements at the National Show in Chicago next week.
Oxygen's backers include Oprah Winfrey,
Carsey-Werner-Mandabach and The Walt Disney Co.'s ABC Inc.