Encore International (EI),the international television programming affiliate of Starz Encore Group, hasnamed former Intertainer Asia chief operating officer Steve Smith as its chiefoperating officer and executive vice president.

Smith assumes overallresponsibility for EI's channel development plans in Asia and the US andwill oversee the company's unique daily programming block on ChinaCentral Television.

He will report to MichelleSie Whitten, EI's president and chief executive officer, and divide histime between EI's headquarters in Denver, Colorado, and its offices inChina.

'With his extensiveexperience in the television business in Asia, we feel strongly that Steve willplay a crucial role in bringing our business to the next level,' Whittensaid in a statement, adding that Smith's six years in the region wouldoffer a valuable insight into the Asian market.

'Through patience,diligence and a brilliant reciprocal programming strategy, EI has established aunique position in Chinese television,' Smith added.

'Now, they are poisedto expand that position, as well as utilise their relationships with theprogramming community in China to reach Chinese viewers in the United States.I'm delighted to be joining the company at this exciting time in itsdevelopment.'

During his time atIntertainer Asia, Smith was based in Singapore where he was responsible for allaspects of the company's video-on-demand service and oversaw launches inHong Kong (PCCW and I-cable), Singapore (Singtel) and Taiwan (Chung Wah >Telecom).

Previous posts includemanaging director of Channel [V] Music Network in Asia, president and generalmanager of MGM Gold Networks (Asia) and managing director of HBO Hungary andits transmission facility, Central European Uplink.