Williams Out, Harvey In as OLN Chief


E! Entertainment Television marketing executive Gavin Harvey is taking the president's chair at Outdoor Life Network, replacing outgoing network head Roger Williams.

Williams, a former ESPN executive who's been with OLN since its launch in 1995, said he's leaving to "pursue other opportunities in the cable business," but will remain a consultant to the Comcast Corp.-owned network.

Harvey, recently named executive vice president of marketing at E!, joined the entertainment network in 2001 after working as senior vice president of marketing and brand director for In Demand LLC.

Harvey said he isn't planning any major immediate changes, but will take stock of the network's programming lineup and seek opportunities for improvement and growth.

"We're going to be aggressive, and it's an opportunity to define what this brand and network is all about," Harvey said. "We will continue to define what outdoor adventure, outdoor sports, outdoor recreation is and what it means to a discreet network brand. There's a deeper passion that people have for outdoor activity, and that's what we'll be focused on."

Williams' departure comes at arguably the most successful point in the 56 million subscriber network's nine-year history. OLN broke ratings records with its coverage of Lance Armstrong's successful quest to capture a fifth consecutive Tour de France cycling championship last July, when it finished 400% above its average of 0.1. All told, the network finished 2003, its first year as a Nielsen Media Research-rated network, with a 0.2 primetime average.

The network, which is also expanding its base of original and reality series, acquired the Gravity Games extreme sports franchise from Octagon Inc. in late January.