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Former ABC Family president Michael Riley has found his next gig.
Nearly a year after exiting the teen-focused Disney-owned network’s top job, Riley has been tapped to serve as CEO of independent public broadcasting and digital media network KCETLink Media Group.
Riley, who succeeds Al Jerome as KCET’s fourth CEO in its 50-year history, begins his new post immediately.
“After a thorough and comprehensive search from a pool of talented candidates, we are thrilled to bring Michael on board to take the reins of this great public service organization,” said Dick Cook, chairman of the board for KCETLink Media Group. “Michael brings a strong track record in brand-defining content creation, strategic partnerships, acquisitions and digital leadership — both domestically and across international markets — which will allow him to build on the solid foundation and momentum created by the KCETLink team under Al Jerome’s leadership.”
Riley left ABC Family — cable’s No. 1 network in primetime among women 18-34 — after expanding its original programming with an unprecedented nine originals on the air last summer, including unscripted series Dancing Fools, The Vineyard and Spell-Mageddon.
He exited the network in September with what sources said at the time a goal of finding a new post with a greater focus on the international business after his partner (who is not in the business) accepted an international role and moved earlier this summer. During the past year, Riley has spent time in the U.K., where he previously lived for 15 years, talking with international content creators to bring ground-breaking programming to linear and digital environments. Before joining ABC Family, he oversaw Radio Disney. He started his media career at Turner in the U.K. in the business development team, where he launched linear and digital brands across Europe before rising to senior vp and GM at Turner Broadcasting System Europe.
“I am honored to join such a terrific and passionate team,” Riley said. “This is an exciting time for KCETLink and I’m eager to drive the organization’s mission and continue to provide thought provoking, quality content to our viewers across all media. I also look forward to deepening our engagement with the communities, partners and stakeholders that we serve here in Southern California, and across the country.”
Riley joins KCET at a pivotal time. KCET recently gave up its PBS affiliation in Southern California, which saw both ratings and fundraising slide as it lost its footing in the community.
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