Rod Perth resigned as chief of programming for the USA Network and Sci-Fi Channel, continuing the housecleaning in television operations since Barry Diller acquired them in February from Universal Studios Inc.
Perth, formerly an executive at CBS, joined USA in 1994 and spearheaded the cable channel's forays into original programming with such series as "La Femme Nikita" and its first mini-series, "Moby Dick," which scored the highest ratings of any original entertainment production on cable.
While the network's ratings are 26% higher than last year's, returning the network to the top-rated cable network in prime time, Diller has been shaking up the top jobs since his purchase. He pushed out USA founder Kay Koplovitz and recently brought in over Perth as president of programming and marketing Stephen Chao, who is credited with developing "Cops" and "America's Most Wanted" for Fox.
Neither Diller nor Chao has elaborated on their plans to reposition USA. Perth is the second high-ranking executive this month to leave Diller's USA Network. Greg Meidel resigned last week as head of Studios USA.