Management and production firm Brillstein Entertainment Partners has come aboard a duo of entertainment-tech startups in pre-market stages of development. They’ll collaborate with Rocket Science Labs and consultants KB Collective on apps Fan Fare and Me2Media, two tech projects aimed at making the consumer experience interactive. Fan Fare is a mobile app that changes the way audiences experience concerts and pro sporting events. Me2Media employs face replacement technology to allow fans to act out their favorite movie scenes. Rocket Science is raising a seed round of financing for final testing before their big reveal. “The technology has multiple entertainment use cases so we’re excited to explore the possibilities with studios, networks, and venues,” said KB Collective Managing Partners Lisa Nicole Bell and Evan Kirkpatrick.
EXCLUSIVE: Brillstein Entertainment Partners has kicked off its selling season with three deals at ABC — for comedies from writers Ali Rushfield and Kristin Newman and a drama from Jordon Nardino. All three are executive produced by Robin Schwartz, who joined the company as TV president in June, and hail from ABC Studios where Brillstein is under a deal.
Both single-camera comedy juxtapose women in their 30s and their 20s. The Ali Rushfield half-hour centers on a 36-year-old woman/child who finally begins to grow up when she moves in with two 21-year-old girls. Rushfield serves as an executive producer, with Leslie Grossman, who was involved in the project’s inception, serving as consultant. It has been a busy development season for Parks & Recreation co-executive producer Rushfield, repped by UTA. She also is writing comedy Stuck, which has a put pilot commitment at Fox, though I hear the ABC comedy has her in first position. Coincidentally, Stuck too centers on women of different ages, a mother and daughter working together. The Kristin Newman comedy, titled Women & Girls, centers on a woman from the Sex And The City age and her half-sister from the Girls era who navigate life together at home and work. UTA-repped Newman is a co-executive producer on ABC’s The Neighbors.
EXCLUSIVE: Caliber Media has added Chris Contopulos to its talent division as a manager, bringing with him clients Abigail Klein (Transformers 4), Nolan North (Star Trek Into Darkness), Josh Margolin (New Girl), and recording artist Kelsy …
EXCLUSIVE: Brillstein Entertainment Partners has named former Regency TV president Robin Schwartz as president of its television division. She will replace JoAnn Alfano, who is departing after serving as TV head for the past two years. Alfano will continue to executive produce the new Brillstein/Plan B drama series for ABC, Resurrection.
Brillstein’s TV unit has signed a new two-year overall deal with ABC Studios where it has been based for the past decade. The new pact has a first-look component. “We are grateful for the continued support of our friends at ABC Studios and excited about our new first-look arrangement,” Brillstein Entertainment CEO Jon Liebman said. “Robin Schwartz is a terrific executive and her broad experience and talent relationships make her an excellent choice to lead and build our television group. We are happy for JoAnn, who is a great friend, and we are looking forward to working with her in the next chapter of her career.”
Schwartz has a background as a network and studio executive and a writer. She started off as VP Primetime Series and Children’s Programming for NBC and also served as VP Programming at ABC Family, where she played a key role in the rebranding of the cable channel following its purchase by Disney. Schwartz was named president of Regency TV in 2004 and ran the studio until it closed in 2007. She went on to become the first president of OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, which she departed in one of a series of executive shake-ups during the network’s uncertain early years. At OWN, she established the structure for the start-up cable network.
Brillstein Entertainment Partners has brought in Jake Labow as a manager. The Toronto native, 29, who will move to Los Angeles, comes from Canadian entertainment conglomerate Bell Media where he most recently served as a production executive in comedy, overseeing development and production across all Bell Media networks including flagship CTV and The Comedy Network, Canada’s first 24-hour comedy-focused net.
EXCLUSIVE: In his first sale under the 3-year overall deal with ABC Studios he signed in July, CSI creator Anthony Zuiker has set up a drama project at ABC from World Trade Center writer Andrea Berloff. …
EXCLUSIVE: Brillstein Entertainment Partners has signed a new two-year deal with ABC Studios, which will bring the company’s current tenure at ABC to eight years. Under the new pact, Brillstein Entertainment is reorganizing its TV division. Peter Traugott, who has run the TV unit for the past five years, will leave to form his own production company, which I hear will be based at NBC. Brillstein is coming off one of its strongest development seasons since setting up shop at ABC Studios in 2005. (Brillstein Entertainment’s predecessor, Brillstein-Grey, also had a TV financing deal with ABC in the mid-1990s). The company landed three pilot orders, for comedies My Freakin’ Family and Other People’s Kids at ABC and drama Ringer at CBS, which stars Brillstein client Sarah Michelle Gellar. Ringer went to series at the CW, with ABC Studios pulling out as an active co-producer but retaining passive interest. “We’ve enjoyed a long and close relationship with ABC Studios,” said Brillstein Entertainment Partners CEO Jon Liebman. “We love working with the people there and appreciate the studio’s continued commitment to building our television company.” Brillstein’s most recent series were ABC’s According to Jim, which continues to air in syndication, and Samantha Who?, both of which ended their runs in 2009. While known mainly as a comedy series producer, Brillstein has been looking to branch out, and Ringer marks its second drama series after HBO’s The Sopranos.
As for the ongoing reorganization of Brillstein’s TV division, the decision for TV president Traugott to leave was amicable. “Peter has been part of our company for many years,” Liebman said. “He is a talented producer and our good friend, and we genuinely wish him the best.”