EXCLUSIVE: As many as 13 VH1 staffers have been let go, we have learned. That represents the bulk of the network’s New York development and production team who have overseen such series as Mob Wives. Among the departing are VPs East Coast production and development Brad Abramson and Kari McFarland. The move comes a month after VH1 brought in veteran showrunner Nina Diaz (Mob Wives) as SVP East Coast Production and Development. She is expected to build a new New York development and production team. Additionally, some of the vacated positions are expected to be filled by people with different skill sets, including some servicing the network’s app. “With ratings on an upswing and the pace of development increasing cross platform, we felt it was the right time to examine our overall production and development structure in New York,” VH1 said in a statement to Deadline. “It’s imperative we accurately structure our teams to deliver the content that our growing number of viewers want from VH1 today.” VH1 has operations on both coasts with its development headquarters located in Los Angeles where new EVP Original Programming and Production Susan Levison is based.
The veteran showrunner behind such series as Mob Wives, My Super Sweet 16 and Real Housewives Of New Jersey has been named SVP East Coast Production and Development for VH1. In her new role, Nina Diaz will oversee unscripted programming developed and produced out of VH1’s New York office. She will be based in New York and report to Susan Levison, EVP Original Programming and Production for VH1. Diaz most recently served as SVP Head of Current Production at Left/Right Productions, where she was responsible for multiple series including VH1′s Mob Wives franchise and spinoffs as well as A&E’s Rodeo Girls. As an independent exec producer, Diaz launched Real Housewives Of New Jersey and exec produced and helped develop the formatted competition series Homemade Millionaire hosted by Kelly Ripa.
Munich-based Red Arrow Entertainment Group launched in 2010 with the backing of Germany’s ProSiebenSat.1 and has continued to grow its portfolio at a rapid clip. Today, the acquisition of a majority stake in New York-based indie TV producer Left/Right brings to 18 the total number of production companies it owns in nine territories. Founded by Banks Tarver and Ken Druckerman in 2005, Left/Right is behind such shows as VH1’s Mob Wives, HGTV’s Home By Novogratz and Showtime’s This American Life. Tarver and Druckerman will continue to run the company, Jan Frouman, managing director of Red Arrow, tells Deadline. “We try to refrain from micromanaging”, he says, “We like each company to have its own face and name”. Frouman says the deal with Left/Right is “the most significant acquisition in size that we’ve done to date”. It’s Red Arrow’s third Stateside deal following majority acquisitions of Kinetic Content in 2010 and Fuse Entertainment in 2011.
Left/Right’s Druckerman says, “When Banks and I started we had a vision as a boutique company; smaller than how we are 7 years later”. But the duo’s success made it “a logical next step to find an international partner”, with an independent spirit. Tarver tells me Left/Right has “a really special culture in the office” that makes it possible to be “crazy eclectic. It takes a special larger …
VH1 has renewed hit reality series Mob Wives for a third season premiering in early 2013. The Season 2 finale airs May 13. Joy Behar hosts a reunion special on May 20 and 27. In its second season, Mob Wives has averaged a 1.0 in the adult 18-49 demo, up 25% from Season 1, and a total of 1.6 million viewers, up 23%. Developed from a concept by Jennifer Graziano of JustJenn Prods, Mob Wives is also produced by The Weinstein Co, Electus and Left/Right.
Angela “Big Ang” Raiola, one of the stars of VH1′s reality series Mob Wives, is getting her own show. The network has ordered 10 episodes of the new half-hour series, titled Big Ang, to premiere in the summer. The series will focus on her interactions with family and friends and her Staten Island bar the Drunken Monkey and will feature visits from her Mob Wives pals. (Our sister site HollywoodLife told us this move was coming.) The ratings for Season 2 of Mob Wives are up 25% over Season 1, averaging 1.6 million viewers per premiere episode.
EXCLUSIVE: Left/Right, the production company behind nonfiction series Mob Wives and Showtime’s This American Life among other fare, has hired two execs and promoted aonther. Nina Diaz, an executive producer on Mob Wives, has come aboard as SVP Current Production, while keeping her duties on the VH1 series. Her credits include showrunning The Real Housewives Of New Jersey and creating My Super Sweet 16 and Cribs. Also joining Left/Right is Angie Day as VP Development and Current Production. Meanwhile, Anneka Jones has been promoted to SVP Development and will continue to manage the company’s development team as well as staffing and recruiting efforts.
Mob Wives drew 2.4 million viewers to its Season 2 premiere and has spawned a spinoff, Mob Wives: Chicago, set to run in the spring. The series is produced by Left/Right, Just Jenn Prods, the Weinstein Co, and Electus.