People & Places

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The head of CNN's U.S. network, Rick Kaplan, has left the company as part of a restructuring plan meant to shore up dwindling ratings. CNN said it plans to more aggressively integrate its television and Internet operations. Its parent company, Time Warner, is about to complete its merger with America Online. It is not clear whether Kaplan's job, president of CNN/USA, will be filled. In the restructuring, his duties were dispersed among other executives. Philip Kent, formerly president of Turner Broadcasting System International, was appointed president and chief operating officer of the CNN News Group. Eason Jordan, who has controlled CNN's international news operations, will become CNN's chief news executive. Kaplan was offered other opportunities within Time Warner but chose not to take them. "I believe it best that I now move on," Kaplan said.

John Haile, who built The Orlando Sentinel into a multimedia force and led the newspaper to three Pulitzer Prizes, announced Aug. 31 that he is retiring after 15 years as editor of the newspaper. "For me, it has been a great ride:" Haile told the staff "Youve made it so. But it's also time to move on, to let someone else with a fresh look on things have a shot at it" Haile, who became editor and vice president in 1985, led the Sentinel's transformation into a multimedia company that includes interactive services, a radio partnership and a 24-hour cable news channel. The Sentinel became available on America Online in 1995 and launched its own Internet site a year later. In 1997, the newspaper joined Time Warner Communications to create Central Florida News 13, a round-theclock cable news channel. Haile is targeting his retirement for mid-October, when he plans to devote more time to his new company, Inside Out Media Partners.

Kenneth W. Lowe, president of The E.W. Scripps Co. since January, succeeded William R. Bu as chief executive officer after Burleigh's retirement on Sept 30. Burleigh, who is reaching the company's mandatory retirement age of 65, will continue as chairman, company spokesman Mark Kroeger said on Aug. 15. The change will complete a transfer of power that started Jan. 24 when Lowe assumed the title of president from Burleigh at the Cincinnati-based media company. Burleigh began his nearly 50-year career with Scripps as a writer and then editor. He was placed in charge of Scripps' newspaper division in 1986 and headed that until becoming president and chief operating officer in 1994. He became CEO in 1996. Lowe, 50, joined Scripps in 1980 as general manager of its radio properties. In 1998, he advanced to vice president of programming, promotion and marketing for Scripps' network television stations. He developed Home & Garden Television in 1994.

Lesley Visser, bounced as a sideline reporter for ABC's "Monday Night Football," is back where she began her television career. "After being on a brief hiatus of seven years, Lesley is rejoining CBS Sports," said CBS Sports president Sean McManus in announcing Visser's return to the network on Aug. 8. Visser, who worked for CBS from 1988 through 1994, will work on NFL and college football, U.S. Open tennis and other sports, he said. Visser said she was "mostly shocked" when she was fired by ABC's "Monday Night Football" producer Don Ohlmeyer. "I had a great relationship with ABC and ESPN those seven years. It was the decision of one person to change `Monday Night Football."' She said she is excited to "come home." "One thing I've learned over the past six weeks is taking the high road actually gives you an ulcer. It's been difficult," she said. Visser said she watched the first "Monday Night Football" telecast with the new announcing crew, including comedian Dennis Miller, and said: "It was a little bit like going to an old boyfriend's wedding! She did say, though, that Miller was a favorite of hers. "For a long time he has said his ideal woman would be Julia Child in the kitchen, Traci Lords in the bedroom and Lesley Visser during a game;' she said. …