Hallmark Channel and Schleiff exchange farewell cards
Sometimes a press release raises a question that hasn't been asked.
That's the case in the announcement from Crown Media Holdings, parent of the Hallmark cable channel, regarding the departure of Henry Schleiff, its president and chief executive.
In the release, Schleiff -- who had another year and a half left on his contract -- and Donald Hall, co-chairman of Crown, both "stressed this resolution was amicable" as if expecting speculation that Schleiff's departure was anything but that.
A chatty executive who rarely misses an industry event, Schleiff was brought on by Crown 2 1/2 years ago after the company's efforts to sell the Hallmark Channel and its sister Hallmark movie network failed. Although the channel gained in ratings under Schleiff's watch and now is profitable, it does not attract the younger demographics that advertisers prefer, and Crown has taken it off the block.
Schleiff, who said he was paid out for the length of his deal and got the Crown board to wave his non-compete clause, noted that since the channel is no longer for sale and is doing better, he figured his work was done.
"I said I can stay, but I've taken it as far as I can," Schleiff said.
William Abbott, the longtime head of advertising sales for the Hallmark Channel, will replace Schleiff.
-- Joe Flint
Photo of Henry Schleiff by Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times