Howie Mandel’s Alevy Prods. and CORE Media Group have signed a first-look deal for Mandel and Alevy to executive produce scripted and unscripted TV and digital projects. Mandel and his Alevy partner Mike Marks currently executive produce the TBS hidden camera series Deal With It. Mandel previously worked with CORE president Marc Graboff at NBC, where Mandel hosted Deal Or No Deal, earning an Emmy nomination, and continues to serve as a judge on America’s Got Talent. “Over the course of my long-standing relationship with Howie, I have come to appreciate him as possessing that extremely rare combination of being an incredibly talented performer as well as a smart, savvy producer,” Graboff said. Other shows produced by Alevy Prods. — repped in the deal by WME, 3 Arts Entertainment and attorney Bill Sobel — include Mobbed, Take It All and Howie Do It.
David Bloom is a Deadline contributor.
You’d think a big new TV revenue source that has goosed income, built audiences and boosted marketing might be the favored guest at a show creator’s next holiday gathering, but that’s not necessarily the case, a panel of industry notables said today at a conference in Los Angeles. In fact, sometimes they spend as much time referring to Netflix as “the N word” as they do celebrating the good things it might do for their shows.
And there are some reasons for that ambivalence. As the streaming-video giant creates and markets more of its own shows, it creates branding problems and other conflicts for networks and producers with shows on the service. As Netflix pushes for the rights to run more recent shows, networks are pushing back. And as Netflix builds deeper knowledge about customer preferences, but doesn’t share enough of that data, distributors and creators have found new ways to be unhappy, even if they appreciate the very real benefits of their Netflix deals.
Related: Netflix Shares Hit New Highs in Q3
“I think [Netflix is] the true definition of frenemy,” said Chuck Saftler, FX Networks’ COO and President of Program Strategy, during the The State Of Next Generation Television panel at the Ritz-Carlton Marina del Rey. “We make money when Sons of Anarchy is on Netflix. But as they put out more original content, and call House of Cards a Netflix original, and Orange Is The New Black a Netflix original (and mix that with messages about FX shows), that becomes a concern because it starts to lump our brand in with theirs.”
EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that Kim Williams, COO of the NFL Network, is finalizing a deal to join CORE Media Group as CFO. Williams is expected to be a key lieutenant for new CORE president Marc Graboff who has been rebuilding the management team since CKx was transformed into CORE in May. She joins recent additions Peter Hurwitz who joined as EVP, General Counsel; Matt Apfel as Chief Digital Officer; Jason Morey as EVP and Worldwide Head of Music for 19 Entertainment; as well as Kay Straky as EVP Human Resources.
As Chief Operating Officer of NFL Network, Williams was responsible for the day-to-day management of the National Football League’s cable television assets. She previously served as SVP & Chief Financial Officer for the NFL, responsible for the League’s overall financial activities including financial reporting and analysis, financial routines and controls, and long-range strategic planning. Before that, she served as SVP & Chief Financial Officer for NBC West Coast where she worked with Graboff.
CORE Media Group (formerly CKx), the umbrella company whose portfolio includes reality series American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance, has acquired Sharp Entertainment, Matt Sharp’s New York-based reality television production company behind such programs as the Travel Channel’s Man V. Food, TLC’S Extreme Couponing, National Geographic’s Doomsday Preppers and Animal Planet’s Call Of The Wildman. This marks the first acquisition for CORE under new president Marc Graboff, who said in May that he plans to grow the company through strategic purchases. “This announcement is another step in our efforts to expand the breadth of our content offerings and align CORE with some of the industry’s most talented and innovative producers,” Graboff said of Sharp’s acquisition today. CORE also has been among the companies looking at buying Dick Clark Prods.
UPDATED: CKx, the company whose portfolio includes reality series American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance, the Elvis Presley estate and the Muhammad Ali brand, has been rebranded CORE Media Group, Inc. It is run by former NBC executive Marc Graboff, who was named president earlier this year and has made his first management appointments. “Our focus now is to take CORE to the next level,” Graboff said. “This means everything from creative content, and new means of distribution to changing the way we partner with sponsors, producers and artists to grow our business.” Graboff’s senior management appointments do not include creative positions as he plans to take his time making executive decisions in that area. But he is busy with dealmaking, closing in on several overall deals with unscripted producers and a reality company acquisition. Core is targeting cable reality and scripted series as well as game shows for its development slate, Graboff said, adding that he plans to build the company around its strong core licensing, merchandising and integrated marketing operations.
NBC has hired a new chief deal negotiator. Veteran MTV networks executive George Cheeks has been named EVP, Business Operations, NBC Entertainment and Universal Television. While his title and responsibilities are not exactly the same, Cheeks is envisioned as a replacement for NBC veteran Marc Graboff, who left the company at the end of last year to run American Idol parent company CKX. Cheeks, who will oversee Business Affairs, Music Services and Production Operations for NBC and studio Universal TV, currently serves as EVP, Business Affairs and General Counsel, Viacom Music and Entertainment Groups, Content Distribution & Marketing and Head of Standards & Practices for Viacom Media Networks. He will start at NBC in the fall, following the conclusion of his contractual commitment with Viacom. “George is the consummate entertainment business executive who has successfully overseen virtually all aspects of television,” said NBC chairman Robert Greenblatt, to whom Cheeks will report. “His vast experience, acumen and positive industry contacts will prove to be invaluable as we move forward to achieve our new goals at NBC.”
Former top NBC executive Marc Graboff, who left the network last month, is finalizing a deal to run CKX, the parent company of Fox’s juggernaut American Idol. I’ve learned that Graboff will serve as president of CKX, with his contract expected to be completed in the first week of January. The company will not have a CEO, at least for the time being, with current CEO Michael Ferrel expected to exit at the end of the year. The news of Graboff’s hire at CKX was first reported by the New York Post.
Through his acquisition of 19 Entertainment, CKX owns Fox’s Amerian Idol and So You Think You Can Dance. The company also has a controlling interest in Elvis Presley Enterprises, which owns the commercial use of the name, image and likeness of Elvis Presley, the operation of the Graceland museum and related attractions, as well as revenue stemming from any Elvis Presley TV specials, films and some of his music. I’ve learned that private-equity firm Apollo Management, which bought CKX for $510 million in June, plans to grow the company, with Graboff expected to spearhead the process, both through acquisitions of other production companies and organically, through development of original content for TV and digital.
Graboff, who left NBC for the CKX gig, had a major presence at the network for the past 11 years, steadily rising in the ranks from head of business affairs to chairman of …
The last top player from the Jeff Zucker regime at NBC is gone. Marc Graboff, a 11-year NBC veteran, will be leaving the network. NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt broke the news to his staff in an email (below). The likable Graboff had been steadily rising in the ranks at NBC, starting off as head of business affairs and ultimately becoming chairman of NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios following the exit of Ben Silverman. But he had started to feel like the odd man out under the new network regime. Even his title was overlapping with that of NBC’s new chief, Bob Greenblatt, who is chairman of NBC Entertainment, overseeing the network and studio Universal TV. When, with Comcast’s blessing, Graboff was signed into a new 3-year contract in the summer of 2010, it was a signal that the new owners were relying on Graboff’s deep institutional knowledge of NBC as he has been involved in all big network decisions during the past decade and has been the deal-maker leading all major negotiations. (As such, he also knows where all the bodies are buried, many noted.) Graboff also was tasked with guiding two NBC toppers who were parachuted in with no executive experience, Zucker and Silverman. No timeline for Graboff’s exit has been set.
Lest the rumor mill get ahead of us, I wanted to let everyone know that Marc Graboff has decided to leave NBC after a
Veteran NBC executive Marc Graboff, president of West Coast TV Business Operations at NBCUniversal, has been elected to the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation’s board of directors. The foundation’s board oversees such initiatives as the Archive of American Television and educational programs such as the annual College TV Awards, Faculty Seminar and the Student Internship Program.