Slava tapped programming head at Ovation

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Kris Slava, a former programming executive at Bravo and Trio networks, has been named head of programming at arts channel Ovation Network, which is expected to relaunch in third-quarter 2007.

Slava has taken the title of senior vp programming and production at the network, which was acquired this year by a group of investors that includes the Weinstein Co. and Hubbard Media Group. He will report to CEO Charles Segars. (Tennis Channel chairman and CEO Ken Solomon serves as chairman of the network in a nonoperational role.)

In addition, Deborah Cuffaro has been named senior vp advertising sales, and Dan Casciato has been appointed vp distribution; both executives will report to chief operating officer Ron Garfield.

Other new executives include director of programming Michelle Zajic, who reports to Slava; Rob Canter, director of creative services; and Joe Fankhauser, director of planning and control.

Slava was vp digital content and acquisitions at Bravo, where he was instrumental in moving the company into new content areas. Before that, he was vp acquisitions and program planning at Trio, where he was part of the team that launched the network. He also has served as director of drama and performing arts programming at A&E Network.

Cuffaro was vp business development at National Cable Communications, responsible for the launch of major initiatives. She also has been senior vp at Rainbow Advertising Sales Corp., where she was responsible for creating and managing sales efforts for internal and external customers in diverse business units.

Casciato was principal of Casciato Consulting, providing service in pricing and product development, sales and marketing for clients including MGM; Zajic was director of acquisitions and programming at Hallmark Channel; Canter was executive in charge of production at DME (Dalaklis McKeown Entertainment); and Fankhauser was director of finance at G4.

Ovation's investors, which also include Arcadia Investment Partners, Corporate Partners II and Perry Capital, invested a total of $55 million in the network (that figure includes the purchase price). The network, founded in 1996, is aiming to broaden its appeal and audience without losing its existing viewers with its focus on the arts and personal creativity and making the arts more accessible to people in their daily lives. Ovation is available in more than 5 million households.
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