Robert Scanlon Promoted to GM of Velocity

Executive Had Overseen Discovery-Owned Network as Senior VP Since 2011
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Discovery Communications has promoted Robert Scanlon to the title of general manager of Velocity, its cable network for upscale men.

 Scanlon, who has served as the network’s senior vice president since its launch in October 2011, will continue to oversee programming, development, production, marketing and communications and report to Marjorie Kaplan, group president of Animal Planet, Science Channel and Velocity.

“Bob’s leadership, strategic thinking and industry expertise have been instrumental in Velocity’s rapid ascent over the past year and a half,” Kaplan said. “Few executives embody their brands better or more completely than he does. Bob is the quintessential ‘Velocity Man.’ ”

Velocity’s second quarter of 2013 was its highest-rated since launch in many key demographics, including adults/men 25-54, adults/men 18-49, men 18-34 and total viewers. The quarter included premieres of What’s In the Barn?, Fantomworks and Dallas Car Sharks. The three series, all of which were spinoffs of other Velocity series, will be renewed for 2014, Scanlon said.

 “That’s probably the biggest challenge we have and probably our biggest focus in development is to leverage and expand on characters that we think are unique on our most successful series and then see if there’s a way to spin them off in our new series,” he said in an interview.

The network also has what Scanlon hopes will be two brand-defining series coming up: On Wednesday, Aug. 28 at 10 p.m., Velocity will premiere the four-part miniseries Patrick Dempsey: Racing Le Mans, with the first episode simulcast on Discovery Channel.

On tap for later this year is Americarna, hosted by NASCAR owner/crew chief Ray Everham. Velocity will roll that series out at the end of NASCAR season to try to grab stock-car racing fans.