Rich Ross Departs Shine, Named Discovery Channel President

Discovery Communications named former Shine America CEO and Disney executive Rich Ross as president of the Discovery Channel.

Ross is expected to start in January. He will report to Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav and replaces Marjorie Kaplan, who had been running Discovery Channel on an interim basis and will continue to run TLC and Animal Planet.

At Shine, Ross oversaw shows including MasterChef, The Biggest Loser and The Bridge. At Disney, Ross helped direct the growth of the Disney Channel. Shine was recently combined with two other production companies—Endemol and Core—by their owners by 21st Century Fox and Apollo Global Management.

"Rich is one of the most creative storytellers, ratings drivers, brand builders and TV executives in the industry today," Zaslav said in a statement. "On top of being just a great guy, Rich also is mission driven, with a commitment to quality, blue-chip programming and is a terrific fit with Discovery.  I am confident that with his experience, relationships and creative leadership, Rich can lead Discovery to its next great chapter in innovative, groundbreaking television.”

Ross will be based in Los Angeles, while Discovery is based in Silver Spring, Md.

“I am so excited to join David and the great team at Discovery,” said Ross. “This network is the gold standard of programmers and to be able to add to its depth of great content with new stories and new characters is simply thrilling.”

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.