Ford leaving Nat'l Geographic

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National Geographic Channel is losing its programming chief.

Executive vp programming John Ford is leaving the network in August to pursue other opportunities, the company said Thursday in a conference call with the departing exec.

Ford, who previously served as head of programming at Discovery Networks, had been at the network for three years. Under his direction, the network experienced substantial growth, developing marquee programming including "The Dog Whisperer" and "Inside 9/11."

"We're obviously very sad and sorry to see him leave, but he has had a great track record here, and we hope we will have a continued relationship with him," NGC president Laureen Ong said.

Ford will stay on long enough to help find his successor and is expected to consult with the company after stepping down. He is forming his own production company to explore opportunities in feature films and new media, he said during the call.

NGC is a joint venture between News Corp.'s Fox Networks Group and National Geographic Ventures.
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