Advanced Television

Sarlanis heads Discovery’s Crime & Investigative content

July 30, 2021

Discovery has promoted lifestyle programming veteran Jason Sarlanis to President, Crime & Investigative Content, Linear and Streaming, effective September 1st.

Kathleen Finch, Chief Lifestyle Brands Officer, Discovery, who made the announcement, has also reported that Kevin Bennett, who currently is Group EVP Programming and General Manager at Investigation Discovery (ID), which in 2021 to date is the #1 network with W18-49 in Total Day, will depart in September and that Henry Schleiff will step down from his ID leadership role at the end of the year to pursue his passion for independent production. Schleiff already has a first look deal with the Discovery networks. Finch also announced that Howard Lee, President, TLC Streaming and Network Originals, will add Travel Channel to his responsibilities, Matt Butler, General Manager, Travel Channel will report to Lee. Sarlanis, who previously reported to Lee, now will report directly to Finch.

“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.  “He is one of our most insightful, creative and passionate storytellers and his skillset is an ideal complement to the work we’re doing in this genre.  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+.

“Schleiff is a changemaker, a risk-taker and a company and industry legend,” Finch continued.  “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.”

Sarlanis will assume leadership for ID network, including leading 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 this new role, he served as Senior Vice President, Development at TLC where he led development for all original programming for the linear network as well as for the love/relationship, family and lifestyle content for discovery+.

Prior to TLC, Sarlanis worked at ABC as Vice President, Alternative Series and Specials where he developed new series including To Tell the Truth and Battlebots. He also represented Disney ABC Television Group’s Alternative Department in the international format marketplace.

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