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Meli Replaces Rushnell at GoodLife

GoodLife Television Network last week said that president Squire Rushnell had resigned and was replaced by Lawrence Meli, a former international distribution executive at National Geographic Channels Worldwide.

Rushnell had helmed the "boomers-and-over"-targeted network since 1996, when it was known as Nostalgia Television. Earlier this year, his nonfiction book, When God Winks, was published. It's now in its second printing, and Rushnell plans to work on a sequel, vice president of marketing and affiliate relations Anne Standish said last week.

Meli has more than 20 years of cable-programming experience, most recently as senior vice president of programming and operations at NGC Worldwide. Earlier, he helped launch New England Cable News, the regional news operation, and was its general manager from 1991 to 1994.

He also was vice president and general manager at the regional sports service SportsChannel from 1980 to 1987.

Meli's latest job, starting in 2000, was at Enjoyweb, a California start-up that has pitched MSOs on plans to distribute cable programming to personal video recording devices over the Internet.

Meli, whose title at GoodLife is president and chief operating officer, said he has begun a thorough look at the network's programming and packaging in an effort to try to significantly increase distribution next year. GoodLife claims about 12 million cable subscribers, with a mix of full-time and part-time carriage, and has added about 3 million homes this year, Meli said.

Americans have placed more emphasis on the family since Sept. 11 and could be looking for more "wholesome" programming, Meli said. "We could be, hopefully, a go-to network for that," he said.

Among some other possibilities, Meli said he would look into possibly creating news programming with The Washington Times
and United Press International, which share ownership ties with GoodLife's parent, Concept Communications.

GoodLife CEO Douglas D.M. Joo also is president of the Times
and of UPI parent company News World Communications Inc. News World and Concept are controlled by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church, according to published reports.

Last year, Concept bought out other shareholders of Nostalgia Networks Inc.'s publicly traded stock, including Rushnell, and took the network private. Rushnell said at the time that a privately owned network might have an easier time negotiating a deal with a strategic partner. The network has been on the lookout for a partner for years.

GoodLife also said Monday it has acquired a new package of old TV series from Warner Bros. Domestic Cable Distribution. The network, which did not disclose a value for the Warner deal, said the library product totals about 1,800 programs and 53 titles, mostly series.

Meli said the deal actually was struck a while ago and has added such series as Maverick, Mayberry RFD
and The FBI
to GoodLife's lineup.