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AOL TV networks head to step down

Jamie Kellner, AOL Time Warner's television networks head, will step down from his position to run the media giant's WB Network.

Jamie Kellner, AOL Time Warner's television networks head, will step down from his position to run the media giant's WB Network, the company announced Tuesday.

In his place, AOL Time Warner appointed former CNN News Group President Philip Kent as chairman and chief executive of its Turner Broadcasting division.

Kent will oversee all of Turner Broadcasting's cable TV stations including CNN, TNT, TBS Superstation, Cartoon Network, Turner Classic Movies, Turner South and Boomerang. He also will oversee Turner's sports franchises such as the Atlanta Braves, Hawks and Thrashers. He will report to Jeffrey Bewkes, chairman of AOL Time Warner's Entertainment and Networks Group.

Kellner's role shift comes amid a series of executive changes at the media giant. Last month, Vice Chairman Ted Turner announced his decision to step down from his executive role in the company. Earlier that month, AOL Time Warner Chairman Steve Case resigned, and CEO Richard Parsons days later assumed his role.

Changes have also been afoot at Turner Broadcasting. Last week, AOL Time Warner said it had discontinued negotiations to merge CNN with Walt Disney's ABC News division. CNN has been losing a ratings battle with News Corp.'s Fox News Channel.

Kellner will remain chief executive of the WB Network through the summer of 2004. The company said Kellner recently told Bewkes that he would not extend his contract and that he planned to return to California. Kellner first started running Turner Broadcasting in 2001, when the cable network and the WB television network were operationally consolidated under his control.

Kellner will move back to California with his family in the "near future," according to a company statement. The WB Network will report directly to Warner Bros., instead of being in the same operating division as the Turner stations.