Please wait...
Please wait...

Discovery promotes Jason Sarlanis as Henry Schleiff, Kevin Bennett exit

Long-serving Discovery executives Henry Schleiff and Kevin Bennett are departing the US factual giant, prompting a reshuffle and a promotion for TLC exec Jason Sarlanis.

Jason Sarlanis

Schleiff will step down as group president of Discovery-owned networks Investigation Discovery (ID), Travel Channel, AHC and Destination America at the end of the year to move into independent production.

The exec, who has spent the past 12 years at Discovery, has already struck a first-look deal with its portfolio of networks.

Bennett, currently group executive VP of programming and general manager at ID, will depart in September after more than 25 years with Discovery. His next move is not yet known.

As a result of the changes, Discovery has promoted lifestyle programming veteran Jason Sarlanis to president of crime and investigative content for linear and streaming.

Meanwhile, Howard Lee, president of TLC streaming and network originals, will add Travel Channel to his responsibilities, with Matt Butler, general manager of Travel Channel, reporting to Lee.

LA-based Sarlanis, who previously reported to Lee as senior VP of development at TLC, will report to Kathleen Finch, chief lifestyle brands officer at Discovery, from September 1.

Sarlanis’s new responsibilities include leadership of ID, for which he will oversee programming development, production and content strategy and operations for true crime series and documentaries. He also will have responsibility for the genre on Discovery+.

Prior to joining TLC in 2017, Sarlanis worked as VP of alternative series and specials at US network ABC and was also VP of original programming and series development at E! Entertainment Television.

Discovery is currently in the process of a mega-merger with fellow US media giant WarnerMedia to form Warner Bros Discovery, the deal being subject to regulatory approvals.

Both companies have made major pushes into streaming in the past 12 months with the launch of their own SVoD services. Discovery+ helped boost Discovery’s paying streaming subscribers to 13 million at the end of the first quarter of 2021.

“Jason is a brilliant content creator and an exceptionally smart strategist, so putting him in charge of the crime and investigative group is the right move,” said Finch.

“His forward-looking leadership and track record with hits like Keeping Up With the Kardashians and the 90 Day Fiancé juggernaut is exactly what we need as we expand our crime content on both linear and Discovery+.”

Finch added: “Henry Schleiff is a changemaker, a risk-taker and a company and industry legend. His creative vision brought decades of success to our networks and we will miss having his influence and voice in the room. We are grateful that we had a creative visionary with us for so many years.”


Please wait...