Discovery Communications today announced the appointment of veteran television and film executive, Laura Michalchyshyn, to President and General Manager of Planet Green. Michalchyshyn will report to CEO David Zaslav, who made the announcement. Hit the jump for the full release.In her new role which begins March 16th, Michalchyshyn will be responsible for all aspects of the creative and business strategy including programming, operations and content development for Planet Green's multi-platform businesses including the 24-hour television channel. She will serve as the chief editorial executive and will manage the overall direction of the network, interfacing with ad sales and affiliate sales to further develop the brand and its appeal to advertisers, operators and viewers. Planet Green will operate out of DCI headquarters in Silver Spring, MD and DCI's offices in New York City.
"I have known Laura for many years, and she is truly one of the most creative programming leaders in the industry today. Laura's ability to lead and grow prestigious brands combined with her passion for the environment both professionally and personally, makes her uniquely qualified to take Planet Green to the next level. Celebrating the environment and promoting sustainability are core to Discovery, and under Laura's stewardship, the company will continue to be the leading provider of credible information and quality entertainment in this important and growing consumer category," said David Zaslav.
Most recently, Michalchyshyn held the position of Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Sundance Channel where she was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the channel including all programming and development, creative strategy, scheduling, marketing, public relations and digital. While at Sundance, Michalchyshyn doubled the network's original programming hours and tripled the number of programming hours overall. During her tenure, Sundance Channel became the largest aggregator of independent films on television with acquisitions of close to 250 films per year.
Michalchyshyn oversaw the production of many notable original programs including Big Ideas for a Small Planet, Iconoclasts, Nimrod Nation, Architecture School, Sin City Law, Live from Abbey Road, and Spectacle: Elvis Costello with... among many others. Michalchyshyn acquired numerous documentary features and television series including Slings & Arrows, City of Men and Kath & Kim, and films such as Body of War, Lagerfeld Confidential and The Return of the War Room. Under her leadership, Sundance Channel launched new destinations such as Asia Extreme, Sonic Screen and most notably, The Green, the channel’s environmental content block which launched in 2007. The Green combines original series including Ecobiz, Ecoist, Ecotrip, and Lazy Environmentalist and acquired series such as It's Not Easy Being Green, Carbon Cops, Sierra Club Chronicles and Outrageous Wasters. Documentaries in the block include Garbage Warrior, Off the Grid, Crude Impact, Waste = Food, Manufactured Landscapes and Weather Report
Michalchyshyn spent seven years at Alliance Atlantis as Senior Vice President of Dramatic Programming. There, she earned international recognition for her contributions to programming and film production through her oversight of programming at Showcase Television and the launches of three Canadian digital specialty channels including Showcase Action, Showcase Diva and IFC Canada.
Prior to her work at Alliance Atlantis, Michalchyshyn was a member of the management team that launched the first Canadian women's cable channel, WTN, where she worked as a Program Manager.
In addition to expansive participation in many industry organizations, Michalchyshyn has received numerous awards and accolades, including: 2008 Peabody Award for the series Nimrod Nation; 2008 IDA Award for the series Sin City Law; 2007 Cable World Top 100 Women’s Power list; WIFT's Excellence in Mentoring and Professional Development; Best Documentary by Hot Docs and Blizzard Awards; 2007 E.M.A. Award for the series Big Ideas for a Small Planet; 2006 Dupont Award for the series The Staircase; 2006 Multichannel News Woman to Watch; 2006 GLAAD Media Award for outstanding documentary TransGeneration; Best New Canadian Film for Inside Out; and, 2003 and 2004 Showcase-Best Specialty Cable Channel for Eye and X-tra.
Laura earned a BA in Anthropology from the University of Manitoba and an MBA in Arts and Media Administration from York University.
She resides in New York City with her husband.
About Discovery Communications: Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) is the world's number one nonfiction media company reaching more than 1.5 billion cumulative subscribers in over 170 countries. Discovery empowers people to explore their world and satisfy their curiosity through 100-plus worldwide networks, led by Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Science Channel, Planet Green, Investigation Discovery and HD Theater, as well as leading consumer and educational products and services, and a diversified portfolio of digital media services including HowStuffWorks.com, TreeHugger.com and planetgreen.com. For more information, please visit www.discoverycommunications.com.