OTT Platform EarthxTV Expands Leadership Team

EarthX, the international environmental organization dedicated to a more-sustainable future, Nov. 22 announced the appointment of several veteran executives to key leadership roles in the areas of content, global distribution, marketing, production, finance, ad sales and impact.

The new hires expand the executive leadership team under Michael Fletcher, co-CEO of EarthX and head of EarthxTV, the 24×7 television network. The newly appointed team, composed of former executives from Discovery, RIDE TV, Animal Planet and TLC, is tasked with expanding the organization’s portfolio — EarthxTV, EarthX Film Festival, EarthX — with an emphasis on building EarthxTV into a globally recognized entertainment network catering to audiences increasingly attuned to issues affecting our planet. 

“We have an ambitious plan to expand development and distribution of EarthxTV into a powerful global entertainment and educational network, and I’m thrilled to welcome a truly talented leadership team to help us achieve our goals,” Fletcher said. 

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The new appointees include: 

Dan Russell, EVP of content and strategy for EarthX, who is charged with driving the acceleration of programming development and acquisitions for EarthxTV. Russell has been a key part of multiple management teams responsible for launching and reformatting television channels in the US and internationally, including TLC, Animal Planet, Travel Channel, Discovery Health Channel, Velocity/MotorTrend, Discovery International, Poker Central TV (OTT/TVE), and now CuriosityStream (Linear/OTT/VOD). Before EarthX, he was VP of Channel Management at Curiosity Systems, launching the linear channel and digital/VOD offerings globally. He also served as SVP of Content Development at New Dominion Pictures.  

Rose Stark is SVP of marketing for EarthX, overseeing marketing, social media and communications for EarthX Expo, EarthxTV and its annual EarthX Film Festival. An award-winning marketing executive, Stark has built and rebranded significant media enterprises, including Planet Green, Discovery Health and TLC. Before EarthX, Stark spent more than 15 years at Discovery working on its global brands. Stark has received multiple gold, silver and bronze Promax and PromaxBDA awards and was a leader on the team named Cablefax “Marketing Team of the Year.” 

James Levitt is EVP of global advertising sales for EarthX, charged with leading the company’s global sales strategy. Founder of Orama Advisors, he brings 30-plus years of experience across linear, streaming, CTV, OTT, and mobile platforms. Before EarthxTV, Levitt led global advertising sales for Ride TV. He also served as SVP of advertising sales at Discovery Inc., where he oversaw $2.5 billion in annual advertising revenue across all video platforms, including linear, social and addressable TV and transacting via programmatic and data-driven marketplaces. 

Mike Clark joins as EVP of global distribution, charged with expanding the availability of EarthxTV across digital and linear platforms globally. Before EarthX, Clark was at Ride TV, where he served on the board of directors and worked in numerous leadership roles, including VP operations of SVP corporate development, and EVP of international operations. Under his leadership, Ride TV launched internationally, including in Taiwan, Dubai, Ecuador and Canada. Previous to Ride TV, Clark was an investor and senior executive for various media companies, including Studios 121, a Texas based television production studio and network operations center.

Bryan W. Redd serves as interim CFO for EarthX, overseeing accounting, finance, and information technology. Redd plays an active role in overall leadership, operations and development of long-term growth strategies. Before EarthX, Redd was at Ride TV for over five years in various leadership roles including VP of strategy. As a consultant, Redd has advised numerous companies on valuations, growth strategies, budgeting and overall operational efficiencies. 

Tim Pirrello is SVP of production for EarthxTV, leading the network’s creative, production and post-production departments. A seasoned production professional, Pirrello served in a multitude of roles at AMS Pictures for more than 21 years, delivering hundreds of hours of television programming for networks including Discovery, HGTV, A+E, History, Food, Cooking, Lifetime, Bio, Showtime, WGN, TruTV and Reelz.

EarthX was founded by Dallas philanthropist and businessman Trammell S. Crow. The nonprofit organization has focused on raising awareness about sustainability since 2011. EarthxTV launched in 2019 in response to the pandemic, bringing the EarthX live event and programming to audiences online. Since its launch, EarthxTV now delivers hundreds of hours of programming with plans to aggressively increase its library of acquired and original series, films and documentaries in 2022. The network is currently available at Earthx.tv, on iOS, and Android phones and tablets and through a growing list of OTT partners, including Roku, Apple TV, Firestick and Google Play. EarthX expects to announce traditional and digital 24×7 linear distribution deals soon.

 

Mike Clark, Veteran Film Critic and ‘MPN’ Columnist, Dies

Film critic and Media Play News contributor Mike Clark died July 31 due to complications from a fall a few days earlier. He had been suffering health issues for some time. He was 73.

His son, Nick, posted on Facebook, “As most of you know he had been struggling with liver disease for several years. Daily activities had become more and more difficult, but he still gave himself completely when spending (sometimes virtual) time with children and grandchildren and other family and friends. He also continued to write and work on his music project right up until the very end. He was with family in his final hours, and he passed very peacefully.”

Mike Clark

Clark, who lived in Virginia, had been contributing reviews of newly issued Blu-ray Discs and DVDs of celebrated theatrical blockbusters — as well as more obscure movies from the golden days of Hollywood and before — since Media Play News was launched in January 2018, as well as its predecessor, Home Media Magazine, from 2010 to 2017.

From 1985 to 2009, Clark was senior film critic and home entertainment columnist for USA Today.

Clark exhibited a passion for film from a young age growing up in Ohio. As a child, he appeared as a 10-year-old film expert on the popular TV quiz show “The $64,000 Question.” He followed that with a job at a CBS affiliate in one of the country’s largest feature film libraries, and later attended New York University’s Graduate School of Cinema.

Clark programmed approximately 150 film series and 5,000 individual titles over eight years as program planner, and eventually director, of the American Film Institute Theater (then located in Washington, D.C.’s John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts).

He also spent a year as film critic for the Detroit Free Press. A contributing editor to Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide since 1973, Clark was also an elected member of the National Society of Film Critics.

(L-R): Film critics Leonard Maltin and Mike Clark. (Photo courtesy of Leonard Maltin)

“Mike’s enthusiasm was second to none where movies and pop culture were concerned,” said film critic Leonard Maltin, who published his namesake guide from 1969 to 2014. “He was a valued contributor to my Movie Guide for decades. Even when he landed his job at USA Today I beseeched him to continue writing for the book because his reviews were so funny. I looked forward to his work in Media Play News, which made use of his tremendous savvy as well as his unique sense of humor. I will miss his writing, just as I will miss our friendship.”

In 2017, Maltin wrote an appreciation for Clark’s reviews in a blog post at his website, LeonardMaltin.com, and recalled how he first encountered “Movie Mike,” as Clark was known around the newsroom.

“I met him when he was attending the NYU Graduate School of Cinema,” Maltin wrote. “He and I bonded over our love for Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis and our unexplainable interest in the little-remembered Keefe Brasselle.”

USA Today’s Mike Snider said he was a colleague of Clark for nearly two decades.

“Movie Mike certainly earned his nickname,” Snider said. “He was a fixture of the USA Today Life section. His film reviews and columns were always incisive and readers were certain to learn something far beyond the particular films being critiqued.”

A huge fan of the New York Yankees and the Ohio State Buckeyes, Clark was “smart, quick and funny, and I was lucky enough to get to see him the last few years as he managed an art-house film theater near my home in northern Virginia,” Snider said. “The film industry has lost one of its great voices.”

Another former USA Today colleague, Jim Cheng, wrote on Facebook, “My heart is broken like the third reel of a grindhouse double feature. The great Movie Mike Clark has left the screening room. Friend, mentor, endless font of information (not just movies), father, grandfather, and of course, Yankee fan. Love to his family. RIP, Movie Mike. In his honor, I hope to spend the weekend watching classic movies.”

Clark is survived by his two sons, Nick (Megan) and Alex; grandsons Benjamin and Oliver; sister Marta (Glenn); ex-wife and close friend Cathy Crary; and many other relatives and friends.