ReelzChannel change at the top

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ReelzChannel Television president Rod Perth will leave his post this month but will stay with the company in an advisory role, the network said Tuesday.

Perth, who has been president of the company for seven years and launched the network in September, said the timing was right for a transition out of the-day-to-day operation of the channel. His duties will be handled by Gary Thorne, president and COO of ReelzChannel.

Perth said Tuesday that he wanted to make sure the transition was smooth. He said that the network is well on its way, with distribution and programming gains, and will become Nielsen rated next year. He said he was proud of "having a vision of what this network could be and then being able to deliver on it with an extraordinarily talented staff that is going to stay here, and I am so happy about."

He declined to talk about his plans other than to spend more time at his house in Utah and spend more time on another job, as chairman of the KCRW Foundation, which supports Santa Monica public radio outlet KCRW-FM.

Thorne said he's grateful for the work Perth has done.

"We do have very good momentum on the distribution side as well as advertising and programming," Thorne said. "We're quite confident the network will continue to grow."

Thorne, who was part of the original management team, is based in Minnesota but commutes frequently to Los Angeles.

ReelzChannel is a linear network as well as a broadband Web site devoted to movies. It's available on DirecTV and Dish Network and selected cable operators in 28 million homes. It will be available in 50 million homes by the end of 2008.

ReelzChannel is based in Minneapolis-St. Paul and is owned by Hubbard Media Group. It has offices in Minnesota, Los Angeles and New York.
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