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Cronin Might Join Game Show Network

Rich Cronin, the former head of Fox Family Channel and TV Land prior to that, has been approached about joining Game Show Network, sources said last week.

GSN is about to fall under a new ownership structure, as Liberty Digital Inc. is slated to close its deal to acquire 50 percent of the channel from Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. in late January or February.

Before it finalizes the acquisition, Liberty Digital is evaluating the network and examining how to enhance its operations. One goal is to double GSN's distribution to 50 million to 60 million homes.

Because of the GSN sale-and plans to revamp Game Show Network-sources said Liberty Digital is talking to several executives about joining the service, including Cronin. Liberty Digital president and CEO Lee Masters wouldn't comment specifically on the possible recruitment of Cronin or anyone else for GSN.

"As part of a public company and our due diligence, we're looking at every aspect of the business," Masters said. "As painful as it is to discuss, management would be part of that. We want to be sure we're firing on all cylinders."

There have been no final decisions with respect to a big management shakeup at GSN, Masters stressed. In fact, no such move can be made until Liberty closes its deal to acquire its stake in the channel.

Michael Fleming, the current and longtime president of Game Show Network, and his management team "have done a good job," according to Masters.

Cronin, a veteran of Viacom Inc.'s TV Land and Nick at Nite, abruptly exited Fox Family Channel last May. He was the executive in charge of relaunching the Family Channel as Fox Family Channel in 1998, with virtually all-new programming. Its ratings subsequently tanked.

Cronin, who reportedly has offices in Liberty Digital's building, couldn't be reached for comment.

Game Show Network, which currently counts roughly 30 million subscribers, has struggled to gain distribution in a tough environment. Masters has said that Liberty Digital plans to not only increase the amount of interactivity incorporated into Game Show Network, allowing viewers to play along online, but to also broaden its content from game shows to games in general.