Robina to Head Comcast-Sony Networks

Comcast Corp. has named an MTV Networks veteran programmer as the president of Comcast-Sony Networks, the joint venture that will create new cable channels using content from the Sony library, officials said Thursday.

Diane Robina, a former general manager of TNN who also helped to launch TV Land, will assume her new post July 1 in Philadelphia. She will report to Jeff Shell, president of Comcast Programming, as well as the board of the Comcast-Sony joint venture.

Robina will work with the board to determine “the genres for the new networks and overseeing their startup and operations,” according to a press release.

Some of the networks Sony and Comcast are expected to explore are 24-hour movie services, a soap-opera channel and an action network.

“Diane is one of the most innovative people in cable today,” Shell said in a prepared statement. “With her proven ability to grow new networks and the passion for filmed entertainment, she’ll be able to capitalize on the incredible Sony assets and develop new programming opportunities in both linear and on-demand forms.”

The Comcast-Sony joint venture, which will develop and launch the new cable networks, was an offshoot of the Sony-led $4.9 billion acquisition of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. earlier this year, a purchase Comcast participated in.

Additional partners -- including the private-equity investors who joined Sony and Comcast in the purchase of MGM -- may be added to the new-networks venture as it moves forward, the press release said.

Those equity partners involved were Providence Equity Partners Inc., Texas Pacific Group and DLJ Merchant Banking Partners.

Most recently, Robina served as executive vice president of acquisitions strategies for MTVN. She had a very successful stint at MTVN, at TV Land and Nick at Nite as associate general manager.

Robina was then put in charge of the relaunch of TNN, and she was replaced there when MTVN decided to take to network in a new direction, for men, and put Albie Hecht in charge of what became Spike TV.

Hecht was replaced earlier this year by Doug Herzog, who got responsibility for Spike TV, along with Comedy Central.