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Leighton Leaves Starz

Starz Entertainment Group LLC executive vice president of programming and programming operations Robert Leighton has resigned, the programmer said Friday.

The position will not be filled immediately, but Starz said the bulk of Leighton’s duties in programming acquisitions, original productions and scheduling will be assumed by senior VP of programming and acquisitions Stephan Shelanski.

“It's been a great run for me at Starz,” Leighton said in a prepared statement. “Helping to build a billion-dollar business with John Sie and the rest of the team will always be a highlight in my life, both professionally and personally. With our film-supply deals in place for many years to come, this seemed an opportune time for new challenges.”

CEO Robert B. Clasen added, “His knowledge of both our distribution partners and our suppliers played a key role in bringing us to the position where we have long-term deals for the top Hollywood films and the rights to transmit those films over a variety of distribution systems. We all wish him the very best in his next venture.”

Leighton joined Starz in 1998 after 17 years at Home Box Office.