ENGLEWOOD, Colo., July 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Steve Beabout, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary for Starz Entertainment, announced that Michael Thornton has joined the company as Executive Vice President, Business and Legal Affairs – Programming, Digital and Worldwide Distribution. Thornton will be based in Englewood at the company's suburban Denver corporate headquarters where he will be responsible for developing the strategic direction of business/legal affairs related to the acquisition of programming content for the Starz Entertainment linear channels, on-demand, and online services. Thornton will also oversee business/legal affairs for distribution of the Starz companies' content with online/broadband distributors, transactional VOD/EST, and international syndication of proprietary Starz Original programming and Starz Media content.
Thornton has served in several senior executive positions with legal and programming responsibilities during his career, and most recently at Disney/ABC Domestic Television as Executive Vice President, Business & Legal Affairs since 2005. Thornton oversaw multi-platform strategy and negotiations for post-theatrical distribution of The Walt Disney Studios' film output and the post-Network distribution of ABC Studios' television product.
Prior to that, Thornton was Senior Vice President, Programming Acquisitions for DIRECTV since 1999 where he led programming strategy, including the acquisition of all on-air acquired and original programming and negotiated successfully numerous network, local broadcast station, sports subscription, and one-off event deals. Prior to that, Thornton was Vice President, Programming for MediaOne where he oversaw negotiations, investments and relationships with all programming providers and was instrumental in setting strategies for MediaOne's international interests.
"Michael is a talented executive with a keen legal mind who will serve us well in this executive capacity," said Beabout. "Michael has done business with Starz in several of his previous endeavors and his counterparts were impressed consistently with his business acumen and ability to strike mutually beneficial business relationships. We are delighted to have him join our executive team with a wide range of responsibilities, including business affairs responsibilities for our programming acquisition, digital, and international syndication business efforts."
"I am very pleased to join Starz during this exciting time in the company's history, with opportunities for further expansion of its core premium pay TV, multiplatform, and global syndication businesses," said Thornton. "This is a tremendous opportunity to return to Colorado with a career challenge that draws upon many of my past professional experiences."
Thornton graduated Magna Cum Laude from Dartmouth College with an A.B. degree in Economics, and holds a Juris Doctorate from the UCLA School of Law and an MBA in Entertainment Marketing and Finance from the Anderson Graduate School of Management, also at UCLA.
About Starz Entertainment
Starz Entertainment, LLC, is a premium movie and original programming entertainment service provider operating in the United States. The company offers 17 premium channels including the flagship Starz® and Encore® brands with approximately 18.8 million and 33.1 million subscribers respectively. Starz Entertainment airs in total more than 1,000 movies and original series every month across its pay TV channels. Starz Entertainment is recognized as a pay TV leader in providing HD, On Demand, HD On Demand and online advanced services for its STARZ, ENCORE and MOVIEPLEX brands. Starz Entertainment (www.starz.com) is an operating unit of Starz, LLC, which is a controlled subsidiary of Liberty Media Corporation and is attributed to the Liberty Starz tracking stock group (NASDAQ: LSTZA).
SOURCE Starz Entertainment, LLC