Skip to main content

Ford Pulls Out of Discovery

Executive defections continue at Discovery Networks U.S., as veteran John
Ford will soon become the latest to leave the programmer.

Ford, a 13-year company veteran, told Discovery brass Thursday that he would
resign his current position as president, new media, effective Valentine's Day
(Feb. 14).

A Discovery spokeswoman said a successor would be named in the coming

Ford, who has held his current post since June, joined Discovery Channel as
vice president, corporate partnerships in 1989.

He subsequently held a number of leadership positions and was tapped to
relaunch The Learning Channel as the network's general manager after its
purchase by Discovery Communications Inc. in 1991.

He also launched Discovery Health Channel and (
) in 1999 and presided over them for two years. During his
tenure, rival channel The Health Network was bought in 2001.

Ford then became president of Discovery Networks'
content group, where he oversaw programming for all Discovery domestic
television networks and (


Observers said Ford was a candidate to succeed Johnathan Rodgers, who left as
Discovery Networks president in March 2002. The position went to Billy Campbell
last spring.

In addition to Rodgers, Discovery has seen several of its long-standing
veterans depart over the past two years.

Last April, Jana Bennett, who had been executive vice president at TLC,
rejoined the British Broadcasting Corp. Roger Marmet, who had been serving as
interim GM, finally got the promotion last month.

Former Discovery Channel GM Mike Quattrone, his wife Kathy (who had been GM
of Discovery Health) and Charley Humbard, who had led the company's digi-nets,
have also departed

Ford, who was speaking on a panel Thursday afternoon, was not immediately
available for comment.

The Discovery spokeswoman said Ford noted that with Discovery HD Theater up
and running, it was a good time to leave. She added that Ford indicated that he
would take a rest before making his next career decision.