Cablevision Spin-Off Unit Renamed; Josh Sapan Tapped As CEO

Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) has rechristened the programming division it intends to spin off AMC Networks and named Josh Sapan as its president and CEO, the cable operator announced Thursday.

Cablevision first floated the prospect of the spinoff last November and its board of directors voted to approve the move the following month. Some analysts have speculated that the spinoff, scheduled to occur sometime midyear, could be a prelude to selling the division.

Previously known as Rainbow Media, the unit is comprised of cable channels IFC, WE tv, Sundance and AMC, as well as an indie film business, international programming arm and Rainbow Network Communications.

Sapan was the natural choice having been with Rainbow for the past 24 years; he’s been CEO of the division since 1995.

In a statement, Sapan credited the buzz building around its AMC asset as the inspiration for the new company’s name. AMC has drawn considerable acclaim for primetime series including Mad Men and Breaking Bad. “As we move forward, we want to capitalize on that strong brand awareness for what will be our new public company,” he said.