- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 19, 2003

ATLANTA (AP) Turner Broadcasting head Jamie Kellner is stepping down after two years on the job, corporate parent AOL Time Warner announced yesterday.
It was the latest in a series of high-level management changes at the huge media and entertainment conglomerate and comes only weeks after Turner Broadcasting founder Ted Turner announced he was stepping down as vice chairman of AOL Time Warner.
Other recent top-level departures have included AOL Chairman Steve Case's announcement that he plans to step down and Walter Isaacson's resignation as head of CNN after two years in that post.
Mr. Kellner will continue as chairman and chief executive of the WB Network through the end of his contract in summer 2004.
Philip I. Kent, formerly president of the CNN News Group until resigning in 2001, will rejoin Turner Broadcasting as its chairman and chief executive, AOL Time Warner said.
Media analyst Porter Bibb, who wrote a book on Ted Turner, said he doesn't expect Mr. Kellner to stay at the WB that long.
"I think in the spring he will step down from the WB, once he's got his money," he said. Mr. Kellner and other managers of the WB who own a combined 11 percent of the network are required by contract to sell their shares in the spring. "I don't know many people who would get up and go to work after just banking $100 million," Mr. Bibb said.
In a conference call with reporters yesterday afternoon, Mr. Kellner acknowledged the problems at AOL Time Warner, but said that wasn't the main reason he decided to leave. Instead, he cited his desire to spend more time with his family.
"There have been changes, but the people that are running the company are people that have been there all along," he said. "I have respect for the leadership. There has been a lot of turmoil, but I have never felt that has inhibited what I have been trying to do here."
Mr. Kent will lead CNN News Group; Mr. Turner's entertainment networks, including TNT, TBS Superstation, Cartoon Network, Turner Classic Movies, Turner South and Boomerang; as well as the Turner Sports properties, which include the Atlanta Braves, Hawks and Thrashers.
He will begin to work immediately with Mr. Kellner on a transition plan and then formally take over March 10, the company said.
Mr. Bibb called Mr. Kent's return "underwhelming."
"Bringing back someone from the old days I don't believe is a very effective move," he said.
AOL Time Warner also announced yesterday that the WB Network, which was profitable in 2002 and appeals to a younger age group avidly sought by advertisers, will once again report to Warner Bros., AOL's movie and TV-production arm.


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