A month after Chris Linn took the reins of TruTV as president and head of programming, the Turner cable network is undergoing an executive restructuring. Marissa Ronca has been promoted to SVP Development and Original Programming, heading up a newly combined team that covers original programming from development through production. Michael Lanzillotta has been upped to SVP and General Manager of the network. Both are based in New York and report to Linn. As part of the restructuring, SVP programming, production and development >Darren Campo, who was TruTV’s top programming executive under previous topper Marc Juris, is leaving, along with Adam Dolgins, SVP of original programming and >Mary Corigliano, SVP of brand strategy and digital content/multi-platform development. A search is underway for a senior executive to head up TruTV’s brand strategy & digital content/multi-platform development teams, replacing Corigliano.
TruTV’s Chris Linn Sets His Programming Team: Marissa Ronca & Michael Lanzillotta Upped; Darren Campo, Adam Dolgins Exit
MTV’s top unscripted executive, EVP of Programming and Head of Production Chris Linn, is headed to Turner where he will take the reins of truTV as president and head of programming. He replaces Marc Juris, who announced his departure at the beginning of the month. Along with David Janollari, Linn took over MTV when president of programming Tony DiSanto left at the beginning of 2011, with Linn focused on unscripted and Janollari on scripted programming. Janollari departed when Susanne Daniels was named MTV president of programming in November, with Linn reporting to Daniels, Van Toffler and Stephen Friedman. He had been eying new opportunities for the past several months as Daniels had been exploring bringing in a new head of unscripted the way she installed Mina Lefevre on the scripted side. After an overture with a British executive, Daniels ultimately promoted within the company, with Lauren Dolgen named Head of West Coast Reality and Kimberly Rach and Andrew Portnoy named co-heads of production. Meanwhile, Linn was quietly anointed for the truTV job earlier this month but the appointment could not be made official as he was still under a contract at MTV. Today, Linn’s appointment at truTV was announced simultaneously with MTV’s announcement of the post-Linn restructuring of its unscripted area.
MTV is beefing up its original slate with six new series: Craig Wright’s ensemble comedy Underemployed, comedy Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous co-created by and starring hot young comedian Bo Burnham, and four reality and docu-series: Catfish, based on the feature documentary; Hoods, about celebrities going back to their hometowns; Wake Brothers, about two pro wakeboarding brothers; and Wait Till Next Year, about a real-life Bad News Bears high school team. The pickups were made after MTV brass last month screened all pilots developed by head of programming David Janollari and Chris Linn, EVP of programming and head of production.
On the scripted side, MTV went 2-for-2, picking up both of its pilots to series. Underemployed, about a group of recent college graduates, “is the personification of our ‘life amplified’ mantra for the 18-24s who are coming out of high school and college and have to figure out how to make their dreams come true and their career aspiration fit into today’s tough economic times,” Janollari said. The show hails from playwright and Six Feet Under alum Wright, who modeled the lead character after his 21-year-old son. Zach Stone, from 3 Arts, stars 20-year-old Burnham as a kid fresh out of high school who hires a camera crew to film him because he wants to be famous. The project shines …
MTV’s Chris Linn: Entire ‘Jersey Shore’ Cast Signed To Return, Season 4 On Schedule, More Spinoffs In the Works
Like before any other cycle of MTV’s Jersey Shore, there has been speculation that several stars, including Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, Jenni “JWoww” Farley and Paul “DJ Pauly D” Delvecchio, are holding off on signing contracts in pursuit of more money. “We do have deals with all Jersey Shore cast members, and we are looking to begin production next month,” MTV’s EVP of programming and head of production Chris Linn said. He also dismissed rumors that production on the upcoming Season 4 of Jersey Shore in Italy has been delayed. “We are on schedule,” he said, adding that the producers are working on appropriate housing and accommodation for the cast, something that is expected to be be finalized soon.
EXCLUSIVE: I hear MTV is finalizing its succession plans in light of the pending departure of the network’s president of programming Tony DiSanto. I hear that the bulk of DiSanto’s responsibilities will be divided between EVP scripted development David Janollari and EVP MTV Production Chris Linn. Janollari will continue to oversee all scripted development for the network and may take over some unscripted responsibilities as he is expected to oversee all West Coast development. Chris Linn, who has been the current executive on MTV’s biggest series Jersey Shore while also heading development and production of TV movies and production of pilots and series, is expected to take oversight of East Coast development.