Lions Gate Swallows TV Guide

The hardest-charging media mogul in Hollywood these days may not be named Rupert, Jeff, or Bob. Instead, it may well be a 57-year-old TV veteran named Jon Feltheimer who runs a company that until recently was mostly known for making African American movie comedies starring Tyler Perry and distributing such low-brow fare as the horror series Saw. For the last eight years, Feltheimer has run tiny (by Hollywood standards) Lions Gate Entertainment (LGF), a $1.4 billion-a-year movie and TV company that may have designs on the big boys.

However he plans to make good on those ambitions, the executive known as "Felt" to his friends clearly intends to make Lions Gate a major player in the next generation of electronic distribution. The Lions Gate CEO says he and TV Guide's O'Hara will need to work with cable and satellite operators to change the network's format of mostly trailers for upcoming shows, but O'Hara says they have that ability in many of their current contracts. Moreover, with cable companies clamping down on the number of spaces they're allotting for new channels (they're saving their digital space for things like video on demand and phone service), even a lightly watched channel like TV Guide could be a winner.

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