Discovery Channel's John Ford Out In Company Reorg

Discovery president and general manager John Ford is leaving Discovery as part of a major Discovery Communications networks reorganization.

Discovery and Science Channel will fall under the oversight of Discovery veteran Clark Bunting, with Debbie Myers continuing her role as Science Channel General Manager, Discovery said.

Also as part of the reorganization, Planet Green, Discovery Health and FitTV will now be combined under one business unit, led by Planet Green GM Laura Michalchyshyn. Former Discovery Health and GM Carole Tomko will now oversee Discovery Studios, reporting to recently appointed Discovery COO Peter Liguori. She'll also oversee Curiosity: The Questions of Life, the company's five-year programming project-the brainchild of Discovery founder John Hendricks.
ID general manager Henry Schleiff will also take over male-targeted networks Military Channel and HD Theater, both of which were formerly under Bunting.

Bunting, Michalchyshyn and Schleiff will report to Zaslav.

TLC and Animal Planet will continue to be led by Eileen O'Neill and Marjorie Kaplan, respectively.

Also, government relations/public policy and standards and practices, led by Alexa Verveer, will now report to David Leavy, executive vice president of corporate affairs and communications.

Ford was hired by Zaslav in 2007 as part of Zaslav's initial re-organization of Discovery Communications, taking over for Jane Root. Under Ford, Discovery was averaging 1.2 million subscribers in primetime this year, up 4% over last year. He was at Discovery earlier in his career, then went to National Geographic Channel in 2003 as EVP of programming and production, then left and went back to Discovery.

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.