With Chernin Entertainment expanding into comedy this past season with its first half-hour series orders for New Girl and the animated Allen Gregory, the company has hired a dedicated high-level comedy executive. Former NBC SVP Jane Wiseman is joining the company as SVP Comedy, reporting to President of Television Katherine Pope. Chernin already has a drama head, Lauren Stein, so Wiseman will be her comedy counterpart. Wiseman recently left NBC, where she served as SVP Comedy Development for the network and Universal Media Studios. This past season, she oversaw the development of such upcoming series as Up All Night starring Christina Applegate and Will Arnett; Whitney, from stand-up comedian Whitney Cummings; and Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea. Wiseman’s departure, which I heard happened before the May exit of NBC and UMS’ EVP Comedy Development Jeff Ingold, is part of the network’s ongoing executive changes under new chief Bob Greenblatt, which include the hire of Tal Rabinowitz as new head of comedy.
Vicky Free, who most recently led strategic marketing efforts at Turner Broadcasting System, has been named EVP Marketing at BET Networks, where she will oversee the strategy for BET, BET.com, BET Mobile and Centric. She will report directly to BET chairman and CEO Debra Lee. “We are thrilled to have Vicky join BET Networks given her strong experience in the cable industry and keen understanding in creating thoughtful brands and engaging the consumer it serves,” Lee said. At Turner, Free helped launch the Emerging Markets and Promotions Group, which created campaigns for Tyler Perry’s House of Payne and The Closer.
Bloomberg Media has found a replacement for David Rhodes, who left in the spring to become president of CBS News. Andrew Morse, executive producer of innovation and integration for ABC News Digital, has been named head of Bloomberg Television in the U.S., reporting to Andy Lack, CEO of the Bloomberg Media Group. Most recently, Morse led ABC News’ coverage on the ground for the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan and the Egyptian Revolution. He also oversaw ABC News’ digital portfolio, including ABCNews.com, ABC News Now and its emerging platforms. Before joining the ABC News digital team, Morse served as executive producer of Good Morning America’s weekend edition and had been senior producer for World News on Saturday and Sunday.
Batista will be responsible for the studio’s national and field publicity operations as well as promotions, product integrations and national partnerships. Joining Batista is Eddie DeVall who will serve as Vice President, National Partnerships and Promotions.
Batista joins CBS Films following two years at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios where she worked in marketing and partnerships on titles including Hot Tub Time Machine and Zookeeper. Highlights include a LG Mobile partnership on Fame and product integration with Subway Restaurants in Red Dawn. Previously, she spent four years at Paramount Pictures where her efforts included work on Transformers, World Trade Center, Kung Fu Panda and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and 10 years in marketing and publicity at Dreamworks Pictures.
DeVall worked with Batista at MGM, handling media promotions and national partnerships on titles including Rocky Balboa and Fame. Prior to working with the film group, he was with MGM Home Entertainment, handling Retail Marketing and National Promotions on franchises including James Bond and The Pink Panther as well as MGM’s other library titles.
The pair is already at work on Gambit, which is shooting in London and stars Colin Firth, Cameron Diaz and Alan Rickman. They also are currently working on the Ed Zwick-helmed film adaptation of Vince Flynn’s bestseller
Veteran production exec Vlad Wolynetz has been named President of Production for Cineflix Studios, the scripted division of international production and distribution company Cineflix. He will oversee production on the company’s scripted projects for broadcasters worldwide, reporting to Glen Salzman, CEO, Cineflix Media. Wolynetz will join Cineflix Studios in July from BBC Worldwide Prods, where he most recently was SVP, Scripted Production and oversaw production on the upcoming season of Torchwood. Before that, he was VP of production, series and movies at AMC, where he worked closely with Cineflix Studios president (and former AMC development exec) Christina Wayne. Cineflix has been quietly developing scripted series using both the traditional network model and the direct-to-series international co-production one. Its first officially announced project is The Command, a drama series in development at TNT with Antoine Fuqua attached to executive produce as well as direct the potential pilot.
NEW YORK, June 6, 2011 – The Weinstein Company (TWC) announced today that Leah Holzer has joined the company as vice president of production, reporting to its president of production, Donna Gigliotti, in New York.
In her post, Holzer will help manage physical production of such TWC films as the David O. Russell comedy, THE SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, and THE BOYS IN THE BOAT, based on a non-fiction book by Daniel James Brown about the University of Washington’s rowing team, which will be directed by Kenneth Branagh.
Prior to joining TWC, Holzer spent three years at Bob Shaye & Michael Lynne’s New York production company, Unique Features. While at Unique, she oversaw the feature development of SHIVER, the best-selling book by Maggie Stiefvater, as well as thrillers 7th SON, set up at Warner Bros., and FACE BLIND, a co-production with Mandalay Vision. Before joining Unique in 2008, Holzer was a creative executive at New Line Cinema, where she was responsible for developing and scouting literary properties. A native New Yorker, Holzer attended New York University and got her start in the film industry as production coordinator on the independent feature film PARTICLES OF TRUTH.
“Leah brings an attuned eye to every aspect of development and production,” stated Gigliotti. “She really understands how to translate the written word to the screen and will be a strong asset for The Weinstein Company. We’re thrilled to have her onboard.”
Lucia Cottone, who most recently worked at Lifetime developing such series as Army Wives, has joined Sony Pictures Television as SVP development and current programming, networks. In the newly created role, she will oversee global development for SPT’s growing channel portfolio worldwide as well as current programming, managing a slate of hundreds of original hours.
EXCLUSIVE: Universal’s legendary President of Distribution Nikki Rocco is promoting Nicholas Carpou from EVP/General Sales Manager in Distribution to Co-President of Distribution. “For recognition of his 25 years here and 34 years in the biz,” an insider tells me. “He’s a tremendous right hand to Nikki. It’s time.” Rocco, of course, has been President of Distribution at the studio since 1996 and remains the only top female in the male-dominated field (when she was appointed, all the guys said a woman wouldn’t last six months in the job). She’s been in the business for 44 years. You gotta love it. … UPDATE: Universal has issued a press release announcing the promotion:
UNIVERSAL CITY, CA (May 31, 2011) — Universal Pictures’ President of Distribution Nikki Rocco today announced that as of June 1, Nicholas Carpou will become Co-President of Distribution for the film studio.
Carpou, who currently serves as Executive Vice President of Distribution, has been with Universal for 29 years. In his new role, Carpou will become more involved in the day-to-day management and operations of the studio’s distribution division and at this time will remain responsible for oversight of Canada, the Eastern United States and Puerto Rico. He will continue to report to Rocco and work closely with Executive Vice President, General Sales Manager of Distribution, Mark Gaines and Universal’s sales team.
ReelzChannel, which is stepping up its original programming efforts, has appointed Matthew Singerman as SVP of programming. Singerman had been a consultant with the channel since January and assisted in the marketing and scheduling of The Kennedys miniseries. He previously worked for five years as SVP of programming at TV Guide Network, where he oversaw all programming airing on the network. Before that, he was executive producer of morning programming at Fox News Channel from 2000-2005 and was in charge of the Fox & Friends franchise.
Marc de Grandpre has been named Chief Marketing Officer at IMAX Corp., where he will oversee the big-screen exhibitor’s global brand and marketing initiatives. Most recently the chief marketer for Qualcomm’s mobile commerce brand Firethorn, de Grandpre has spent the majority of his career at Red Bull North America, where he helped spearhead the launch of the energy drink in the U.S. “Marc has the business acumen, the leadership skills and the experience to help us further develop our brand and our reputation,” said IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond, to whom de Grandpre will report. “He will help us determine new paths that can tap into the emotional connection consumers have with The IMAX Experience.”
EXCLUSIVE: BBC Worldwide Prods. SVP Linda Giambrone has joined Reveille as SVP and head of production. Reveille didn’t have anyone officially in the role, and tapping Giambrone — who has two decades of hands-on producing experience on reality, variety, talk, news and game shows — is part of the company’s new strategy to go for creative/producer-types for its new top management team, starting with the recent hire of Eden Gaha as president. Also joining Reveille is Daryl Berg as executive director, music. He was previously director of music for Fuel TV. Giambrone joined BBC Worldwide Prods. in 2005, when she was tapped to launch the company’s mega reality hit Dancing With the Stars. She was promoted to VP in 2007 and SVP in 2008, when she also got additional responsibilities with the international sales and distribution department and the various BBC Worldwide global production offices, as well as the launch of the company’s U.S. scripted business.
David Rone, a former co-head of CAA Sports, has been appointed president of TWC Sports, tasked with building sports content at the nation’s second-largest cable operator. He will oversee the company’s sports programming and existing sports channels and build and lead TWC’s new regional sports networks featuring the Los Angeles Lakers, which will debut in the 2012-13 season after TWC snagged lucrative rights to the NBA franchise in February with a 20-year deal. Rone, most recently with boutique media- and sports-investment banker Evolution Media Capital, will report to TWC EVP and Chief Video Officer Melinda Witmer. “Sports is among the most important content to our customers, and we see significant potential in delivering on their desire for compelling sports programming and experiences,” Witmer said. “Under David’s leadership, I am certain we will build a distinct and valuable brand for TWC Sports, innovate in the sports programming field, and deeply engage sports fans across Time Warner Cable’s platforms.” According to the company, Rone will “work to build and foster relationships with sports leagues, conferences, teams, programming providers and others in the sports industry to enhance Time Warner Cable’s sports products and marketing.”
May 23, 2011, Silver Spring, MD — Wonya Lucas has been named President and CEO of TV One, effective Monday, August 8. The cable industry programming veteran succeeds Johnathan Rodgers, who has announced his retirement as of July 31. Most recently, Lucas was Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Discovery Channel and Science Channel, where she was responsible for strategy and operations for the networks as well as oversight of the networks’ research and marketing departments. She joined Discovery Communications in 2008 as the Chief Marketing Officer. Prior to joining Discovery, Lucas served as Executive Vice President and General Manager of The Weather Channel Networks.