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Discovery Picks New Chiefs For Planet Green, Military, Fit & Health

Discovery Communications has named new heads for its Planet Green, Military Channel and Discovery Fit & Health networks.

The company created a new leadership position -- senior vice president of content strategy -- at those networks and placed Marc Etkind in the role at Planet Green, Ed Hersh in the role at Military Channel and Rita Mullin in the role at Discovery Fit & Health.

Discovery said Laura Michalchyshyn, who had been president and general manager at Planet Green and also ran Fit & Health, resigned earlier this summer. Michalchyshyn joined Discovery in 2009 after being GM at Sundance Channel.

Etkind had been VP of development at Discovery-owned Animal Planet. Hersh was SVP of strategic planning at both Investigation Discovery and Military Channel, and will continue to advise on content at ID, Discovery said.

ID, Military Channel and Planet Green are all under the purview of Henry Schleiff, their president and GM. He gained oversight of Military Channel last year and of Planet Green in January. In February, Discovery CEO David Zaslav said on an earnings call that Schleiff would be given time to decide how to handle Military Channel. "Planet Green, we're probably going to do something else with," Zaslav said then.

Schleiff also has promoted Sara Kozak to SVP of production at ID, Military Channel and Planet Green. She had been VP of production at ID and Military Channel. And Doug Seybert has been promoted to SVP of marketing for ID, Military Channel and Planet Green, from VP of Marketing at ID and Military Channel.

"I'm delighted to promote these incredibly smart, hard-working and creative leaders of my senior management team," Schleiff said in a release. "As Investigation Discovery continues its rise as America's fastest-growing network and we further invest in Military Channel and Planet Green, Marc, Ed, Koz and Doug will work with me to chart a path for these networks' future growth and success."

Mullin had been VP of development at TLC which, like Discovery Fit & Health, falls under Eileen O'Neill, group president, Discovery and TLC Networks. A 15-year Discovery veteran, she reports to O'Neill.

After Discovery Health morphed into OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, Discovery added health programming to what was FitTV and rebranded it as Discovery Fit & Health this past January. 

"I have had the pleasure of working closely with Rita for many years, and she has a proven talent of identifying programming that fits the Discovery brand and resonates with our audience," O'Neill said in a release. "That skill set combined with her extensive health background, make her the perfect choice to lead Discovery Fit & Health to the next level."