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CTV and sports programming president Phil King to leave Bell Media

Phil King, president of CTV Sports and Entertainment, on Tuesday, April 21, 2015.

Darren Calabrese/The Globe and Mail

Phil King, the head of programming for the CTV network and a long-time TSN executive, is departing from Bell Media as part of a reshuffling in the company's senior ranks.

Since 2010, Mr. King had been president of CTV and sports programming for Bell, one of the most prominent jobs in Canadian media. He later added entertainment to his portfolio, and was in charge of shopping for shows to fill CTV's prime time lineups, with oversight of TSN as well.

Bell Media president Mary Ann Turcke announced Mr. King's departure as part of a larger reorganization in a note to staff on Monday. Also leaving Bell Media are Chris Gordon, the president of radio and local TV; Adam Ashton, the senior vice-president of English TV and business operations; and Charles Benoît, a former Astral Radio executive who most recently Bell's president of TV and radio in Quebec.

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The departures continue a shakeup in the senior ranks at Bell Media, and put Ms. Turcke's stamp on the division, which operates under parent company BCE Inc. In April, the company dismissed the company's previous president, Kevin Crull, three weeks after The Globe and Mail reported that he had tried to intervene in news coverage of an important regulatory decision for the television industry. Ms. Turcke, an engineer who had led Bell Media's sales and its local TV and radio division, succeeded Mr. Crull.

"As we confront a fast-changing multimedia landscape, Bell Media must evolve our business and team in order to compete and grow now and into the future," Ms. Turcke said in the staff memo. "In a time of unprecedented competitive intensity and ongoing technological and regulatory change, we are restructuring our organization to ensure Bell Media is ready to maximize every opportunity to expand our leadership with viewers and listeners across the country."

Ms. Turcke also promised "a broader update" on Tuesday morning "detailing our organizational plans, new senior leadership roles and reporting structures."

Replacing Mr. King in the newly created position of President, Entertainment Production and Broadcasting,  is Randy Lennox, the long-time president and CEO of Universal Music Canada, a division of the major corporation Universal Music Group Inc. and a label promoting a wide range of Canadian artists from Justin Bieber and Drake to Bryan Adams and Shania Twain. Mr. Lennox also previously led the now-defunct media company MCA Inc.

Under Mr. King's watch, CTV developed shows such as The Amazing Race Canada and Saving Hope while commissioning Canadian shows such as Orphan Black. But he was also a major buyer of content from U.S. networks, and largely responsible for the heavy dose of super hero shows in CTV's recent lineups, landing hits such as Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

A spokesperson for Bell confirmed the departures but declined to comment further.

Before taking the reins at CTV, Mr. King was president of TSN from 2004 to 2010, when the network dominating the sports ratings in Canada, and advised on coverage of the 2010 and 2012 Olympic Games. A graduate of the University of Western Ontario, he first joined TSN in 1989 as an audit manager.

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Mr. King was also involved in Bell's failed bid for national NHL broadcast rights, which were snatched away by rival Rogers Communications Inc. in a 12-year deal sealed in November, 2013. TSN has adapted to a more varied broadcast schedule with a thinner lineup of regional NHL games, but has since lost the ratings edge it held over competitor network Sportsnet for years.

At TSN, one of Mr. King's mentors was Rick Brace, who was recently appointed president of Rogers Media, taking his expertise and knowledge of TSN over to Sportsnet.

"Organizational change is never easy, especially in a fast-moving industry like ours," Ms. Turcke said in her statement.

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