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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Suffering Low Ratings, TVS Picks a New Director

The board of directors at Shestoi Telekanal has appointed Oleg Kiselyov, the former head of the Metalloinvest holding, as the new general director of TVS television.

The board, at a meeting late Wednesday night, demoted Alexander Levin to first deputy general director. Levin had been appointed general director last spring when the channel was being formed during difficult talks between Yevgeny Kiselyov's team of journalists and a group of businessmen.

Oleg Kiselyov acted as a spokesman for the businessmen and has served as general director of Media-Socium -- the holder of TVS's license -- since the spring. Shestoi Telekanal is the company that oversees TVS's operations.

He said Thursday that his priority would be to "optimize expenses," attract additional investment and relieve producers from administrative and financial burdens so that they could concentrate on new projects.

He also said he felt confident that he was qualified to run TVS.

"Economic models are the same for any type of business," he said on Ekho Moskvy radio.

TVS has been scrambling to position itself since it went on the air June 1. While other channels have shifted their emphasis toward entertainment programming, TVS, with a journalist team whose expertise is politics, has not been able to find a niche with viewers. As a result, TVS's ratings are far below rival NTV's nationwide.

In the run-up to the board meeting, one of the TVS journalists, satirist Viktor Shenderovich, said he and several other journalists might leave if Levin was fired. It was not clear Thursday whether he would make good on the warning.

Yevgeny Kiselyov, who remains the channel's chief editor, promised Thursday that no radical changes were in the works. "No purges and no shocks are going to happen at the channel -- I guarantee this," he said on Ekho Moskvy. "All the leading stars will remain on the channel."