Henry Schleiff, the programming govt who constructed Investigation Discovery right into a true-crime cable juggernaut, is ready to retire from his Discovery submit after greater than 40 years within the cable TV enterprise.
Kevin Bennett can also be stepping down as normal supervisor of Investigation Discovery. Jason Sarlanis, who’s now senior VP of growth for TLC, is getting a giant promotion and can take over Investigation Discovery together with two different channels that Schleiff now runs.
The shuffle comes as Discovery is getting ready for a mega merger with AT&T’s WarnerMedia. Sources near the scenario stated Schleiff’s transfer has been within the works for a while and isn’t a response to the WarnerMedia deal.
Schleiff joined Discovery in 2009 to take the reins of Investigation Discovery, or ID. On Schleiff’s watch, ID turned a high 10 cable community and destintation for true-crime lovers. Schleiff embraced the style with gusto and intelligent advertising and marketing that walked a effective line in drawing viewers to limitless applications, principally unscripted, centered on homicide and girls in peril.
“It’s been an honor — and, frankly, plenty of enjoyable — to steer my group of networks right here at Discovery over the past a number of years — and, particularly, to see the success and unprecedented development of ID with its informative, entertaining — occasionally, maybe, inspiring programming. And, in fact, these stunts and titles: something higher than ‘Wives With Knives?’” Schleiff wrote in a memo to Discovery staffers.
Schleiff has served as a bunch president for Discovery since 2015, overseeing ID in addition to Journey Channel, Vacation spot America and American Heroes Channel. Sarlanis will oversee Vacation spot America and American Heroes Channel. Howard Lee, president and normal supervisor of Discovery’s TLC, will add Journey Channel to his portfolio with Schleiff’s retirement.
“From the second Henry walked into my workplace 12 years in the past, he made a direct impression on our firm. He had a imaginative and prescient to make ID the primary crime community, and talked with conviction about his expertise launching Courtroom TV and understanding the significance of expertise, buzz and an amazing story,” Discovery CEO David Zaslav wrote in a memo outlining the modifications. “Henry and his wonderful workforce not solely made ID the highest crime community, they made it a high 5 community in all of cable. Since he began, ID has been one of many nice development tales in TV, having positioned the corporate to be a pacesetter in True Crime throughout linear, streaming and Discovery+, in addition to a world chief that expanded Discovery’s portfolio to enhance and compete in nearly each market on the earth.”
Sarlanis’ star rose at Discovery with the success of its relationship present “90-Day Fiancé,” which has been one among cable’s most-watched applications lately. Like different model leaders at Discovery, Sarlanis can also be tasked with growing unique content material for the Discovery Plus streamer.
Schleiff is well-known all through the cable enterprise for his programming and advertising and marketing savvy, his fast wit and his sartorial aptitude with dapper fits. He’s been a key mover in cable since becoming a member of HBO in 1980. He segued to Viacom Worldwide within the late Eighties. He additionally headed Hallmark Channel from 2006 to 2009 and Courtroom TV from 1999 to 2006. From 1996 to 1998, he labored in TV growth for Barry Diller’s Studios USA.
Sarlanis joined Discovery in late 2016. Earlier than that, he spent eight years at E! and likewise served a stint at Ryan Seacrest Productions and as VP of specials and different collection at ABC from 2014 to 2016.
Bennett, govt VP, has been with Discovery for greater than 20 years. He has been normal supervisor of ID and American Heroes Channel since 2012.
Right here is Zaslav’s full memo:
I want to inform you of Henry Schleiff’s subsequent chapter. After a few years and numerous accomplishments at Discovery, Henry has determined to depart Discovery as Group President of ID, Journey Channel, AHC and Vacation spot America to concentrate on his ardour for manufacturing, together with a primary search for Discovery networks.
From the second Henry walked into my workplace 12 years in the past, he made a direct impression on our firm. He had a imaginative and prescient to make ID the primary crime community, and talked with conviction about his expertise launching Courtroom TV and understanding the significance of expertise, buzz and an amazing story. Henry and his wonderful workforce not solely made ID the highest crime community, they made it a high 5 community in all of cable. Since he began, ID has been one of many nice development tales in TV, having positioned the corporate to be a pacesetter in True Crime throughout linear, streaming and Discovery+, in addition to a world chief that expanded Discovery’s portfolio to enhance and compete in nearly each market on the earth.
Henry has been a supply of management, knowledge and loopy humor, with an skilled perspective on the best way to inform nice tales and market them. There is no such thing as a one who can title a present higher than Henry. From Wives with Knives to Southern Fried Murder to Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry? Henry taught plenty of us about showmanship and the facility of breaking by means of, being genuine and utilizing emotion to drive narrative. I’ll miss our chats and passionate debates…and no query, our management conferences will definitely not be the identical! Henry will keep till the tip of the 12 months.
Individually, Kevin Bennett, the overall supervisor of ID and Group EVP of programming for Journey and ID, has determined that after a implausible 25-year profession at Discovery, now’s the time to step away to search for new challenges. We’re sorry to see him go. His management on ID, AHC, Vacation spot America, Discovery Channel and so many different manufacturers has been large.
We’re excited to share with you that Jason Sarlanis will probably be promoted to President, Crime & Investigative Content material and can start to transition into that position instantly, reporting to Kathleen Finch. Jason has performed a implausible job spearheading the enlargement of the 90-Day franchise at TLC beneath Howard Lee’s management. We’re thrilled to convey a few of the magic behind 90-Day and Jason’s nostril for cultural buzz to ID in addition to to discovery+, the place his genres are amongst our hottest. Jason can even assume duty for AHC and Vacation spot America. Additional leveraging TLC’s secret sauce for leisure, cultural relevance and genuine storytelling, Howard will now broaden his portfolio with the addition of the Journey Channel. Journey Channel GM Matt Butler, who has led our profitable pivot to paranormal on Journey and discovery+, will now report into Howard.
Please be part of me in wishing Henry and Kevin nothing however one of the best and nice thanks for all the worth they created, expertise they’ve nurtured, and all of the management, dedication and dedication to Discovery over time. And congratulations to Howard and Jason on their expanded management roles.
Right here is Schleiff’s full memo:
It’s been an honor – and, frankly, plenty of enjoyable – to steer my group of networks right here at Discovery over the past a number of years – and, particularly, to see the success and unprecedented development of ID with its informative, entertaining – occasionally, maybe, inspiring programming. And, in fact, these stunts and titles: something higher than “Wives With Knives”?
Our efficiency has been due in no small measure from the help on the high from Zas, Kathleen and others – and, much more so, from the uniquely proficient and devoted workforce I’ve been lucky to information me, right me – and, chortle with me.
With my networks now positioned for the subsequent act of their contributions to what will probably be a good bigger and extra profitable firm, I believed 12 months finish could be the right time to step again from my company tasks and benefit from the alternative I’ll then have to supply for a market that’s so clearly rising in demand for brand new content material, in all codecs. The timing of all this can even enable me to be extra energetic as a Board Member at my varied not-for-profits, together with UNICEF and RFK Human Rights – and, to contribute to the Innocence Challenge. Certainly, my disappointment in leaving is effectively offset by the thrill of working with previous pals and new, with the widespread aim of success…and, enjoyable!