UPDATE: CBS, which carries the Grammy Awards, issued a statement from Jack Sussman, EVP specials, music and live events. “On behalf of everyone at CBS, our thoughts and prayers go out to John’s wife Rita, daughters, Maria and Rose and the entire Cossette family,” Sussman said. “I was fortunate to work with him for several years and call him a friend. Having taken over for his father, who created the Grammys, he will forever be connected to the television event he worked so hard to make Music’s Biggest Night.”
PREVIOUS: John Cossette, who executive produced more than a dozen Grammy Awards telecasts, including this year’s edition, has died. He succeeded his father, Pierre Cossette, who brought the Grammys to television. John Cossette Productions also exec produced several BET Hip Hop Awards and BET Honors telecasts, as well as the current Broadway musical Million Dollar Quartet.
EXCLUSIVE: As part of its push in the alternative programming arena, Lionsgate Television has signed a two-year overall deal with reality producer and development executive Eli Frankel, who most recently served as SVP of development for Magical Elves, the production company behind Project Runway and Top Chef.
Lionsgate TV Group president Kevin Beggs said the company so far had taken a very opportunistic approach to unscriped programming with occasional projects. “It has not been a concerted, strategic effort the way you think of our scripted business,” he said. “But reality television has matured into such a strong business that we wanted to change that.” Instead of hiring a traditional unscripted executive, Beggs said they opted for bringing in a producer-developer who is a self-starter and self-sufficient and went with Frankel, whose experience ranges from development executive to executive producer to editor of reality series. Beggs and Frankel first met on the Lionsgate/Craig Piligian-produced Tommy Hilfiger fashion reality series for CBS The Cut, which Frankel co-executive produced during his tenure at Piligian’s Pilgrim Films & Television. Frankel has been off to a fast start since joining Lionsgate a month ago. “In a month we have had probably more activity than we had for 10 years at Lionsgate,” Beggs said. Lionsgate’s unscripted slate reflects the company’s mandate on the scripted side to “not accept any limitations,” Frankel said. “We have male- and female-skewing shows for broadcast and cable.” The list includes … Read More »