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Rod Perth Vacates Berth As ReelzChannel President

Rod Perth, co-founder of ReelzChannel, is fading out as the network’s president but will be acting as a consultant for the service, which is all about movies.

ReelzChannel announced Perth’s resignation last week, saying that president and chief operating officer Gary Thorne will absorb Perth’s responsibilities effective immediately. Thorne said that Perth won’t be replaced.

Perth, a veteran of CBS and USA Network, will transition into his new advisory role between now and early September. He said he was proud of the network’s progress during the seven years he’s been involved.

“I’m going to stay a part of it,” he said. “I’m just not going to do it every day. I’m going to take advantage of other opportunities that have come to me that I’ve pushed aside and some personal experiences.”

Perth noted that his daughter is getting married in September, but declined to offer any details about the “opportunities” he may be weighing.

“In the past seven years, I’ve had any number of things that have come up, but as I said earlier, it would not have been fair to this job nor is it my style to get into serious discussions about them,” Perth said.

Perth is currently board chairman of KCRW in Los Angeles, one of the largest public radio stations in the nation.

“I’m going to continue to be very involved in that, and other board possibilities,” he said. “It’s one of my many passions.”

ReelzChannel, owned by Hubbard Media Group, made its debut last September to a national audience of 28 million homes, with most of that attributed to direct-broadcast satellite providers DirecTV and Dish Network.

It now has roughly 30 million subscribers, according to Thorne.

The network offers original movie-industry news and entertainment programming that focuses on the content and behind-the-scenes production of movies in all their windows of release.

The network’s priorities now are building distribution, increasing ad sales and developing more original programming, Thorne said.

ReelzChannel has set a target of 40 million subscribers by the end of this year and 50 million by the end of 2008, according to Thorne.

“I think we’ve built tremendous momentum,” he said.

ReelzChannel has carriage deals with cable operators such as Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications and Mediacom Communications. But the network is now out in the field trying to sign up those companies’ systems, doing system-by-system launches.

Stan Hubbard, chairman and CEO of ReelzChannel, lauded Perth’s contribution.

“He created much of the creative vision and leadership behind the incredibly successful launch of ReelzChannel and the brand it is becoming,” Hubbard said in a prepared statement.