The fate of Czech private television station TV Nova, is once again in doubt, as an ongoing off-screen drama took another unexpected twist with the attempted removal of CEO Vladimir Zelezny
According to reports, Zelezny has apparently been sacked by his former allies in his ongoing battle with original Nova investor Central European Media Enterprises (CME).
Ales Rozehnal, an executive of Nova's license holder CET-21 and former right-hand man of Zelezny's, announced last week that the company had voted Zelezny out as CEO.
Rozehnal spent three months in a Czech jail earlier this year following alleged financial improprieties related to Zelezny's and CET-21's ongoing legal disputes with CME, a company controlled by cosmetics heir Ron Lauder and the founding investor in Nova that was removed in an acrimonious dispute in 1999.
The situation remained unclear this week, with Zelezny maintaining he is still in charge of the station. Bodyguards from the two sides scuffled last week in front of Nova's offices at Prague's Barrandov Studios when Rozehnal tried to enter the building.
At issue is the relationship between CET-21 and its production service company, Ceska Produkcni. Rozehnal told the Prague Business Journal that Zelezny was dismissed following fears that CET-21 would default on unspecified payments. "I want CET-21 to act as an independent subject," he told the paper. "I do not want Ceska Produkcni to make decisions instead of CET-21."
"He's made the worst decision of his life," countered Zelezny in leading Czech daily Mlada Fronta Dnes.