Hallmark Channel operator Crown Media Holdings Inc. said Tuesday that David Kenin, the executive responsible for the development of its popular secondary movie channel, has decided to leave the company at the end of the month.

Kenin, executive vice president for programming, is the second senior executive to resign from the Studio City company in recent weeks. Crown announced May 6 that Chief Executive Henry Schleiff was stepping down and would be replaced by William J. Abbott, executive vice president of advertising sales.

Crown did not give a reason for Kenin? decision, but in a news release, the company credited Kenin as the ?reative driving force?behind the development of Hallmark Movie Channel. He also was praised with greatly increasing the family network? original and acquired programming, which drove ratings growth for the movie channel and Crown? flagship Hallmark Channel.

?uring David's tenure, Hallmark Channel has become firmly established as a leading family-friendly entertainment channel while Hallmark Movie Channel has been successfully launched as an emerging network in high demand," said Abbott said in a statement. "David leaves us with a strong and experienced management team that is ready to meet the challenges ahead.?

Barbara Fisher, senior vice president of original programming and Michelle Vicary, senior vice president of acquisitions and scheduling, will share Kenin's responsibilities until a replacement is named, the company said.

The announcement was made a few hours before the markets closed. Crown Media shares closed down 3 cents, or less than 1 percent, to $3.02 on the Nasdaq.

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