ENGLEWOOD, Colo., Nov. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Starz LLC, CEO, Chris Albrecht announced the promotion and expanded senior management role for Michael Thornton to the newly created position of EVP, Acquisitions, Business Affairs and Legal. New responsibilities for Thornton include programming acquisitions and studio relations for the first-run output and library film content that program the 17 Starz Entertainment linear channels and associated on-demand and online family of services. Thornton's new responsibilities are assumed from Executive Vice President of Programming, Stephan Shelanski, who will be departing at the end of the year. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20080522/LATH063LOGO-b) Based in the company's Englewood, Colorado corporate headquarters, Thornton continues his role developing the strategic direction of business/legal affairs related to the acquisition of programming content for the Starz Entertainment linear channels, on-demand, and online services. Thornton also oversees business/legal affairs for distribution of the Starz companies' content with online/broadband distributors, transactional VOD/EST, and international syndication of proprietary STARZ Original series programming and Starz Media content. "I am very pleased that Michael Thornton has agreed to further expand his wide-ranging responsibilities at Starz as part of the senior management team," commented Albrecht. "Few in the industry understand the economics and business/legal dynamics of theatrical movie content and multichannel premium pay television better than Michael, who already oversees business and legal affairs matters for our acquired theatrical content. Expanding his management role to include studio relations and programming acquisition is a logical extension of his considerable talents. Along with responsibilities for the growing Starz Media Worldwide distribution business and the Starz Digital team, Michael is an invaluable contributor to the success at Starz." Prior to joining in Starz in 2011, Thornton served in several senior executive positions with legal and programming responsibilities during his career, and most recently at Disney/ABC Domestic Television as Executive Vice President, Business & Legal Affairs since 2005. Thornton oversaw multi-platform strategy and negotiations for post-theatrical distribution of The Walt Disney Studios' film output and the post-Network distribution of ABC Studios' television product.