Television

Ancier to take charge of WB Network from CEO Kellner

CALIFORNIA: Ensuring a seamless transition and continued management stability, Jamie Kellner the founder of The WB Television Network will step down. He will turn over the leadership reigns of The WB to colleagues Garth Ancier, Jordan Levin and Jed Petrick.

The WB from the Time Warner stable is America's fifth broadcast network. It claims to be the fastest-growing network this season among total viewers and in the 18-34 and 18-49 demographics. Its shows include Smallville which will shortly premiere in India on Star World.

Kellner will step down as chairman and CEO at the end of the 2003-04 television season. At that point Ancier will become the network's chairman. He will carry Kellner's big picture, forward thinking, strategic planning responsibilities forward. In addition the network's CFO and general counsel will report to him.

Levin will be the CEO. A company release states that he will retain his current programming duties, while adding business oversight of the operational running of the network. Petrick will serve as president and COO once Kellner steps down.

During the transition period, between now and the end of the season, Ancier has been named co-Chairman and Levin promoted to co-CEO. They are currently sharing both Kellner's titles and responsibilities. In addition to his duties at The WB Ancier will continue to be available to sister company Turner Broadcasting System to consult on programming issues associated with their news and entertainment networks.

Kellner added, "Three years ago as the network moved toward profitability, I began to formulate my transition plan as I contemplated retirement from The WB. The WB just completed its best season ever in ratings and profitability and as we head into the new season, our profitability continues to show growth.

" I believe that this team has already proven themselves to be up to the challenge of taking the network to its next level of success. And although we might be the youngest of the broadcast networks, our senior management team is the most experienced in the television business. Putting Jordan, Garth and Jed at the helm of The WB, and doing it before I leave, insures a smooth and seamless transition. Having stable management is one of our proudest accomplishments and there is no doubt in my mind that this is the best way for us to successfully deliver upon our highly profitable long-term business plan."

The WB Network claims availabillity in 92 per cent of the US and airs primetime programming Sunday through Fridays. Its KidsWB! line-up airs weekday afternoons and Saturday mornings.

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