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Margaret Loesch To Leave Position As President And CEO, Crown Media United States; Lana Corbi To Assume Post.

Business Editors

STUDIO CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 25, 2001

Margaret Loesch, founding President and Chief Executive Officer of Crown Media United States, LLC, the operator of its U.S. Hallmark Channel, will be departing the company next month at the conclusion of her contract, it was announced jointly by David J. Evans, President and Chief Executive Officer of parent company, Crown Media Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: CRWN) and Ms. Loesch.

Mr. Evans further disclosed that Lana E. Corbi, currently Chief Operating Officer of Crown Media Holdings and a prominent television executive, would become the new President and Chief Executive Officer of Crown Media United States, LLC.

"Margaret has made significant contributions to the Hallmark Channel resulting in a very successful network. As a result of these contributions, the channel enjoys a solid foundation and strong prospects for continued future growth. I know Margaret will do well in whatever she decides for the future," Mr. Evans stated.

He added, "I have enjoyed a long and productive professional relationship with Lana and have every confidence based on her wealth of experience and skills that she will effectively lead Hallmark Channel in the years ahead."

Ms. Loesch noted, "It has been a remarkable and rewarding experience to have been a part of building our U.S. Hallmark Channel. What we believed in and started in 1998 remains even truer today - there's a yearning by viewers for high quality, family-friendly, adult-targeted entertainment. We have created a network that fills that need and the public, advertisers, system operators and satellite providers are supporting us."

She added, "I'm very proud of the many accomplishments made by the team that I've helped build. But, while the experience has been exciting, it has also been all-consuming personally and professionally. As I near the end of my contract, it seems like an ideal time to take a much-needed break and put some focus on my family, and then begin to pursue my other career goals."

Prior to assuming her current post, Ms. Loesch had been president and chief executive officer of Odyssey Holdings since November 1998. Recently, she oversaw the successful August 5th re-branding of Hallmark Channel from Odyssey Network and helped to build a significant growth of ratings and distribution for the channel.

Ms. Corbi has been Chief Operating Officer of Crown Media Holdings since June 2000. Prior to that, she served as Chief Operating Officer of Odyssey Holdings from April 1999. She was President, Network Distribution, of Fox Broadcasting Company from May 1997 until April 1999. Before that, Ms. Corbi was Executive Vice President, Network Distribution, of Fox Broadcasting Company from May 1996 until May 1997 and was President and Chief Operating Officer of Blackstar, LLC from September 1995 until May 1996. Ms. Corbi also served as Senior Vice President, Network Distribution, for Fox Broadcasting Company from October 1994 until September 1995.

Ms. Loesch, a multiple Emmy Award-winning producer and a Peabody Award winner, was President of the Jim Henson Television Group from February 1998 to November 1998. As President of Jim Henson Television, Ms. Loesch was involved with developing the agreement in which Hallmark Entertainment and the Jim Henson Company partnered with the National Interfaith Cable Coalition in what was then the Odyssey Channel, a faith-and-values program service. The deal was finalized in November 1998.

Subsequently, in less than eighteen weeks Ms. Loesch oversaw the relocation of the channel's headquarters from New York to Los Angeles, established a Chicago Sales office, relocated the New York offices, built a new employee infrastucture and established a West Coast feed for the previously single-feed channel. The channel's program lineup was overhauled to appeal to a younger, broader audience in April 1999.

The network transitioned through further significant ownership and format changes, throughout which she also implemented an aggressive slate of original movies, miniseries and series and directed program acquisition efforts as the network further evolved into the new Hallmark Channel.

From the initial re-launch in 1999 through the re-branding to Hallmark Channel, the network has made significant ratings gains while at the same time dramatically transforming its viewing audience to a much younger demographic with considerable increases among Adults 18-54. As a result, Hallmark Channel saw significant growth in the recent upfront advertising market.

Moreover, under Ms. Loesch's watch the channel has entered into distribution agreements that by the end of September will have increased the network's full-time subscriber base by nearly 50% since December 2000. Chief among the agreements are Hallmark Channel's recent DIRECTV deal, Time Warner Cable, AT&T Broadband, Adelphia Communications and Charter Communications.

During her tenure with Hallmark Channel, Ms. Loesch was three-times named among CableFax Daily's "100 Most Influential People in Cable" and was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by Women in Cable and Telecommunications. She also received the prestigious "Chair Award" from the Caucus for Television Producers Writers and Directors.

Ms. Loesch joined The Jim Henson Television Group after serving as the founding President and CEO as well as the architect of Fox Kids Networks Worldwide, which included Fox Children's Network (FOX Kids) in the U.S., from which she resigned as Vice Chairman in November 1997. She also was instrumental in the development of Fox Kids Latin America, Fox Kids Australia and Fox Kids United Kingdom. She joined FOX from Marvel Productions Ltd. where she had been President and Chief Executive Officer since 1984. Prior to that, she was Executive Vice President for Hanna-Barbera Productions, which she joined in 1979 as Vice President for Children's Programming. Previously, she held positions in programming and production at NBC and ABC in Los Angeles, where she began her television career in 1971.

Crown Media Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: CRWN) owns and operates pay television channels dedicated to high quality, broad appeal entertainment programming. The company currently operates and distributes two cable channels: Hallmark Channel in the U.S. and Hallmark Channel in more than 100 international markets. The combined channels have almost 80 million subscribers worldwide. Significant investors in Crown Media Holdings include Hallmark Entertainment, Inc., a subsidiary of Hallmark Cards, Inc., Liberty Media Corp., DIRECTV, Inc., VISN Management Corp., a for-profit subsidiary of the National Interfaith Cable Coalition, and J. P. Morgan Partners (BHCA), L. P.

Hallmark Channel is a 24-hour television network that provides high-quality, broad-appeal, entertainment programming to a national audience that is expected to reach nearly 40 million subscribers by the end of September. The program service is distributed in the United States through 1,700 cable systems, DIRECTV (Channel 312) and EchoStar (DISH Channel 185) direct-to-home satellite services and C-Band dish owners across the country.

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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Sep 25, 2001
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