John Ford
Title: President/GM, Discovery Channel
Age: Old enough to know better
Education: Duke, BA, History; U of TX, MA, Public Affairs

Why Him? When Ford returned to Silver Spring last year ratings and employee morale were low. But in just one year he’s rooted out tired series, reinvigorated core shows like Storm Chasers and Deadliest Catch and greenlighted programming that solidifies Discovery’s core base and is snappy enough to excite younger viewers. He returned the network to a specials-heavy slate, including the highly regarded Iditarod and Ted Koppel on Discovery, which helped deliver an average 614mln prime-time viewers during Q3. Behind the scenes, Ford’s people skills rate No. 1 with employees, who cheer his weekly brown-bag staff lunches and the 4 pm dance break he relishes.

Year Ahead:
Ford’s management style and eye for programming bode well for ’09.

Unnecessary Luxury I Like Most: Chocolate in any form

Favorite Show Not on My Network: Friday Night Lights

Favorite Part of My Job: Overnight ratings

Worst Part of My Job: Overnight ratings

Cable’s Biggest Challenge: Stop being "cable" and become "content and service providers"

Best Business Advice Received: Have your crises early

Hero: My wife (I’m not kidding, honey)

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Reorg at Disney

Walt Disney Television ’s chmn of entertainment Dana Walden is majorly restructuring the TV production and original content businesses. Hulu ’s SVP of content Craig Erwich is adding oversight of ABC

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