New York -- Rafael Pastor resigned as president of USA
Networks International last week, marking the first of what could be several changes at
the company, which came under the control of Universal Studios last year.
Although Pastor's departure has been rumored for
weeks, company sources contended that the departure was a surprise, and that it was a
mutual agreement between Pastor and Universal management. Pastor couldn't be reached
As part of the change, the international USA unit has been
brought under the umbrella of Universal Studios Networks. And all of the studio's
overseas channels now fall under the purview of Tony Garland, who has had responsibility
for the channels that Universal created before it took full control of USA's
international networks. Garland was promoted last week from senior vice president and
managing director to president, Universal Studios Networks.
The current international channel lineup includes USA
Network Latin America, USA Network Brazil, Sci-Fi Channel Europe and 13th Street -- The
Action and Suspense Channel, the latter of which launched in France last year.
Universal also said it plans to launch new
library-programmed movie channels in Italy and Germany. The studio had previously
announced upcoming German and Spanish versions of 13th Street.
Garland joined Universal Studios Networks upon the
unit's creation in August. He was previously executive vice president, MTV Networks
International, based in London.
Blair Westlake, chairman of Universal Networks and
Worldwide Television Group, said the factors leading to Garland's promotion to the
top seat for international networks included the unit's London base of operations, a
desire to expand its European networks and Pastor's own desires.
One source who follows the industry speculated that as
Universal Studios Networks grows, management wants its "own people" in control.
Pastor's decision to leave caught some off-guard.
Pastor, who led USA Networks' move into foreign markets, had been invited by
Universal Studios chairman and CEO Frank Biondi to stay with the company.
Garland met with Universal Studios Networks' 20 or so
New York employees last week to discuss the unit's future, and one lingering question
is where it will be based, sources said.