AOL grows new Greenhouse plan

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America Online embarked on the first major step toward revamping its Greenhouse unit with the acquisition of LightSpeed Media and the announcement of the formation of a new entertainment channel.

Greenhouse Networks, formerly known as Greenhouse Studios, is changing from a venture capital structure to a TV network structure. While in the past few years AOL has funded hundreds of entrepreneurial Web efforts, its new business model calls for development of about 10 distinct brands.

In the LightSpeed deal, AOL will acquire 100% of the company and use it as the foundation of its entertainment network. Brandon Tartikoff, who previously signed on to develop entertainment properties with AOL, will be chairman of the board of LightSpeed. Scott Zakarin will be named president of programming.

: Mr. Tartikoff also will oversee development of "Beggars and Choosers," a serial being developed to launch as programming on AOL and as a movie on Showtime.

Copyright March 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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