EXCLUSIVE: NBC’s sibling Universal Media Studios has assembled a new top executive team under EVP Bela Bajaria, who took the reins of the studio last month. Additionally, UMS is changing its name to Universal Television, reverting to the moniker held by Universal’s TV production company, known for such series as the Law & Order franchise, prior to its 2004 merger with NBC Studios.
Bajaria’s new team includes Russell Rothberg, formerly SVP Drama Programming, NBC and UMS, who has been named head of the studio’s drama department as SVP Universal Television. Joining him in the drama area will be Erin Underhill, formerly SVP Current Programming, NBC and UMS, who now becomes SVP Universal Television, reporting to Rothberg. Additionally, former WB head of comedy Tracey Pakosta comes to Universal Television to lead the comedy department as SVP Comedy. And Showtime veteran Beth Klein, who left the pay cable network in April after 23 years, has been named SVP Casting, Universal Television. An additional comedy executive will be announced shortly. Read More »
Casting director Amy Britt, who along with partner Anya Colloff cast one of Showtime’s signature series, Weeds, has been tapped as the pay cable network’s new head of casting. Britt, who has been named SVP Talent and Casting, succeeds Showtime’s longtime head of casting Beth Klein, who is leaving at the end of this week. Based in Los Angeles, Britt will oversee casting for Showtime’s's original series, reporting to entertainment president David Nevins. “I’ve known and admired Amy for many years now,” Nevins said. “She has impeccable casting taste, a keen eye and a great sense of humor.”
Britt, who formed CFB Casting with Colloff in 1998, has cast such series as Monk, Party Down, Childrens’ Hospital and Hung. Her feature credits include Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story; An American Crime; Baadasssss!; Sundance standout The Chumscrubber; as well as the upcoming Bad Teacher starring Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake and Jason Segel. Britt and Colloff have been frequent collaborators with Joss Whedon, casting his series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly and Dollhouse and movies Serenity and the upcoming The Cabin In The Woods. Colloff will continue to run CFB Casting.
EXCLUSIVE: Showtime’s SVP of talent and casting Beth Klein, a well-respected TV casting executive, is leaving the pay cable network after 23 years to pursue other casting opportunities. “I’m incredibly proud of my body of work here at Showtime and have been fortunate to have worked with such talented and creative artists within our community. They have taught me more than I ever imagined I’d learn,” said Klein. “I’m looking forward to the next chapter doing what I love to do most.”
During her tenure at Showtime, Klein has overseen casting for the network’s scripted series, including Queer as Folk, the L-Word, Dexter, Weeds, The Tudors, Nurse Jackie, United States of Tara, The Big C, Episodes, Shameless, Californication and The Borgias; more than 30 made-for-TV movies; as well as recent pilots House of Lies and Homeland. For the last 23 years, Klein spearheaded casting for Showtime while also working for other divisions of CBS/Viacom, including Viacom Prods., where she cast such series as Sabrina, the Teenage Witch and Ed.
Klein is the second senior Showtime executive to depart following the regime change at the cable network last year that saw David Nevins taking over from Robert Greenblatt as president of entertainment. SVP original programming Danielle Gelber exited at the end of her contract in December.