Premiere braces for more executive cuts

News Corp. has replaced most of the management

COLOGNE, Germany -- More heads could roll at Premiere as News Corp. continues to clean house at the struggling German pay TV group.

Programming head Hans Seger stepped down this week, ahead of Thursday's announcement of Premiere's third-quarter figures, and two other key execs -- sports boss Carsten Schmidt and Wolfram Winter, who runs Premiere's satellite service Premiere Star -- will soon follow suit, company sources have told The Hollywood Reporter.

News Corp., which controls 25% of Premiere, has replaced most of the German management at the group over the past few months -- including CEO Michael Bornicke, CFO Alexander Teschner and marketing head Oliver Kaltner -- with its own execs from BSkyB and Sky Italia.

Premiere CEO Mark Williams, however, denied that Schmidt and Winters were about to be axed and expressed his support for both men.

All eyes will be on Williams on Thursday as he addresses investors for the first time since issuing a profit warning last month that decimated Premiere's share price.