A little background: At the beginning of the year, ESPN and Discovery Communications announced plans to launch the first 3D television networks. ESPN’s net, ESPN 3D, will be introduced this week with the first 2010 FIFA World Cup match South Africa vs. Mexico on Friday, while Discovery’s joint venture with Sony and Imax is being prepped for a 2011 launch. Both companies have claimed to have the first 3D network. ESPN has an earlier launch date, but the network will go dark when not airing 3D programming, while Discovery’s channel will be on the air 24/7. Here is Sony/Discovery/IMAX’s release announcing Tom Gosgrove’s appointment as president and GM.

LOS ANGELES – Sony Corporation, Discovery Communications and IMAX Corporation today announced that Discovery Channel executive Tom Cosgrove has been named President and General Manager of the joint venture they have established to develop the first 24/7 dedicated 3D television network.  The network will feature content from genres that are most appealing in 3D, including natural history, space, exploration, adventure, engineering, science and technology and motion pictures from Discovery, Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc., IMAX and other third-party providers. In his new position, Cosgrove will oversee all business and creative areas of the joint venture, with a goal of driving consumer adoption of 3D televisions and giving the network long-term leadership in the 3D home marketplace. He will report to the joint venture’s board of directors, comprised of representatives from Sony, Discovery and IMAX. The companies completed the formation of the joint venture last week.

“We welcome Tom Cosgrove to what is really an historic position heading up a groundbreaking 3D television network,” said Michael Lynton, Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, which will be leading Sony’s involvement with the network.  “We’re at a turning point in entertainment history, not unlike the transition from silent movies to ‘talkies’ or black-and-white to color.”

“Tom’s experience and success as the operational leader of Discovery’s flagship network makes him an exceptional choice to lead our 3D joint venture with Sony and IMAX,” said Discovery Communications President and CEO David Zaslav.

“We believe Tom’s background in high-quality programming and cable operations will be incredibly valuable in driving the strategy and growth of the channel,” added IMAX CEO Richard L. Gelfond.

Rebecca Glashow, SVP of Digital Distribution for Discovery Communications, will oversee distribution for the channel.  Amy Carney, President, Advertiser Sales, Sony Pictures Television, will lead advertising/promotion sales, and Sony Pictures Television will provide all related advertising sales-related services for the joint venture.

Cosgrove most recently served as EVP and COO for Discovery Channel, managing day-to-day operations, including overall business strategy, programming, development and marketing.  Before that, Cosgrove served as General Manager of Science Channel.  He joined Discovery Communications as SVP of Programming for the portfolio of Discovery Channel, Science Channel, Discovery Times and Military Channel. Prior to joining Discovery, Cosgrove served as General Manager for TV Guide Channel.