Television

Old Zee hand Sunil Khanna puts in his papers

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MUMBAI / NEW DELHI: The churning just doesn't seem to stop at the Subhash Chandra-promoted Zee Telefilms. The latest to head for the revolving door is Zee TV president Sunil Khanna.

Khanna, who has been associated with the Zee Group for over a decade, reportedly handed in his resignation letter to chairman Chandra last week. Prior to his stint as head of Zee TV, Khanna was on the distribution side as the Zee Turner chief executive.

Khanna's quitting the top post at Zee TV, the flagship channel of the group, comes six months after he took over the responsibilities from Apurva Purohit (now COO of the Times Group's TV venture) with a view to overhauling the fortunes of the channel.

What's more surprising is that after 'strongly denying' news of Khanna's imminent departure from the present post since morning, towards evening Zee Telefilms issued an official statement confirming it.

The statement, which attempted to downplay the churning process, stated, "Zee TV has made arrangements with eminent Bollywood personalities like Mr Sudhir Mishra and Mr Viveck Vaswani to assist Zee TV on creative aspects of programming. This arrangement has been finalised post resignation of Mr Sunil Khanna as president of Zee TV."

Though the release stated that Khanna has decided to "move for better prospects," Zee insiders hinted that the possibility of Khanna "being accommodated elsewhere in the Essel group" (the umbrella organisation under which Chandra carries out his various business activities) cannot be ruled out.

The release was also silent on when would Khanna finally leave and whether the company would appoint somebody to the post or abolish it altogether. The post of president of Zee TV was created after Chandra became CMD and the company did not appoint anybody as the CEO post Sandeep Goyal's exit.

It is interesting to note that Khanna (considered a close associate of Chandra's younger brother and head of Siti Cable, Jawahar Goel) resigned from his present post close on the heels of another senior Siti executive leaving the group for Reliance's broadband venture.

Attempts made by indiantelevision.com to get in touch with Khanna, who company officials say is "vacationing with his family in Goa", proved futile.

For the record, writer & director Mishra has been "detained as a creative resource". Actor, producer and director Vaswani, meanwhile, "brings in his creative excellence to support the programming of Zee TV". Vaswani has movies like Dil Vil Pyaar Vyaar and Isqh Vishq as co-producer to his credit.

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