paidContent.org has learned that IAC (NSDQ: IACI) is dissolving its programming group as part of its post-spin reorganization. As a result, Nick Lehman, COO of programming, has to decided to leave. Michael Jackson, the president of programming who also worked with Barry Diller at USA Networks and Universal Television Group, will stay on in a new role. Lehman confirmed his move but declined comment on the reasons and referred to IAC public relations for details. (No response yet to phone and e-mail queries.) As we pointed out in some detail recently, Diller said in the Q308 earnings call that IAC would shed some of its emerging businesses and was rethinking investments; this appears to be part of that strategic shift.
Jackson’s group has been responsible for IAC’s efforts to develop, acquire and distribute “content-based” sites including CollegeHumor.com; Very Short List (VSL); 236.com; RushmoreDrive.com and Tina Brown’s recently launched Daily Beast. The results have been uneven and some of the sites are among those likely to be sold. For instance, 236.com, the joint venture with The Huffington Post, could wind up be entirely owned by HuffPo. Kurt Andersen’s eclectic VSL doesn’t have a good fit in IAC without something like the programming group. On the safe list, I’m told: DailyBeast.com, which has made a big splash but is far from making money.
Update: IAC spokesperson Stacy Simpson says Michael Jackson’s new title will be “senior advisor” and that he will use his editorial expertise across the company as it applies. She said there was no need in the new, streamlined IAC for a formal programming organization. The “handful” of other employees affected are expected to get jobs within the company.