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GSN named Dennis Gillespie, a veteran of Superstation WGN and MTV Networks, senior vice president of distribution.

Gillespie, who starts Feb. 26, will fill the post left vacant when Jan Hatcher exited GSN last September. He will report to CEO Rich Cronin.

Based in GSN’s New York office, Gillespie will have oversight responsibilities for all areas and offices of the network’s distribution efforts. The “network for games” is currently in 62.7 million homes.

Gillespie will be responsible for subscriber acquisitions and retention, and he will assist in the development of complementary products such as video-on-demand, international distribution and broadband initiatives for the Sony Pictures Entertainment- and Liberty Media-owned network.

Since 2002, Gillespie has served as senior VP of affiliate sales for Tower Distribution/Tribune Broadcasting. In that role, he oversaw the national sales of Superstation WGN.

During the past five years, WGN grew its distribution from about 48 million homes to more than 70 million. In addition, Gillespie was responsible for the negotiation of analog- and digital-TV retransmission-consent agreements for Tribune Broadcasting’s 24 TV stations, including the carriage of digital-multicast services.

WGN replaced Gillespie internally: Chris Gilpatric, who's worked in WGN's Western region in affiliate sales and marketing since 2004, has been promoted to VP and director of affiliate relations. He'll relocate to New York and report to WGN general manager Bill Shaw.

Prior to Tribune, Gillespie spent 12 years at MTV Networks in affiliate sales and marketing, where he worked with Cronin. During his tenure with MTVN, Gillespie held a number of posts, including VP of affiliate sales and marketing, where he directed the sales and marketing efforts for 16 cable networks including MTV, Nickelodeon, VH1, TV Land, Comedy Central and MTVN’s Digital Suite in the Northeast region and among several national accounts.