Ryan Seacrest Prods.’ new president Eugene Young has made his first senior executive hire since joining the company two months ago. 51 Minds’ Rabih Gholam has been tapped as EVP, Unscripted Programming. Gholam will report to Young, working alongside EVP, Current Unscripted Programming Izzie Pick Ashcroft, EVP, Production Robert Norris Catto and SVP of Development Matt Sims. As EVP of alternative programming of Endemol-owned 51 Minds, Gholam recently produced Whodunnit? for ABC, Same Name for CBS and Somebody Has to Go for Fox. He started off in late-night TV before migrating to reality. Gholam is the second executive from 51 Minds to depart after the executive restructuring following the company CEO Cris Abrego’s appointment as co-chairman and co-CEO of parent Endemol North America that saw Christian Sarabia elevated to president of 51 Minds. VP Dave Caplan recently inked a deal with Lionsgate TV.
Several days after the inaugural iHeartRadio Music Awards, NBC has picked up a second edition of the new awards show from Clear Channel Media and Entertainment and Ryan Seacrest Prods. The three-hour show did so-so in the TV ratings, drawing a 1.7 among adults 18-49 last Thursday but scored on social media. It also was also broadcast on Clear Channel radio stations nationwide and the iHeartRadio digital music platform. This year’s telecast was executive produced by John Sykes and Tom Poleman of Clear Channel, Ryan Seacrest Prods. and Ian Stewart and Hamish Hamilton of Done and Dusted for Universal Television. Hamilton served as director.
It won’t silence tonight’s inaugural iHeartRadio Music Awards on NBC, but a new lawsuit aims to make the newest music awards show a very short-lived affair. A trial date of April 6, 2015, already has been set for the multi-claim trademark infringement and unfair competition complaint filed in federal court earlier this week against Clear Channel and Premiere Radio Networks (read it here). While the live show will go on tonight, plaintiffs Radio Dogs claim that the new show, executive produced by Ryan Seacrest Prods, is far too close to their Radio Music Awards brand. They want an injunction against the show, its online presence shut down, materials destroyed and unspecified monetary damages “including all of Defendants’ profits or gains of any kind resulting from the actions complained of herein.” Radio Dogs registered the trademark Radio Music Awards with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on February 4, 2003.
Sounds pretty strong, especially when you consider that Radio Dogs produced the trademarked Radio Music Awards on the WB in 1999, then on ABC from 2000-01 and on — surprise, surprise — NBC from 2003-05. Add that American Idol frontman Seacrest was the host of those shows and Clear Channel was the major sponsor. And the fact is the two logos do share some characteristics.
The revolving door at Ryan Seacrest Prods. continues with a slew of comings and goings in the past year. The latest development is the exit of CEO Adam Sher, who had been with the company since 2008. According to sources close to the company, Sher he will retain his equity stake. In the past year, the company, which is yet to score a major hit beyond the Keeping Up With The Kardashians franchise, also parted ways with Fernando J. Hernandez, EVP Development and Production, who took a job at Universal TV, and SVP Development and Current Unscripted Programming Heather Schuster. On the coming side, RSP brought in veteran scripted executive Nina Wass and Jason Sarlanis as SVP Unscripted Development, with Izzie Pick Ashcroft set to join early next year when RSP is expected to name a new president.
Keeping Up With the Kardashians might need to get guitars because there’s some new kids on the block. E! announced today that it has another reality series from Ryan Seacrest coming – this one following UK pop band The Wanted. Tentatively entitled The Wanted Life, the series will premiere in June. The Wanted Life will chronicle the band’s move to LA to record their third album and all the ups and downs that entails for them, their girlfriends and their entourage. The series is produced by Ryan Seacrest Productions, SB Productions and Global TV UK. Executive producers are Ryan Seacrest, Adam Sher, Scooter Braun, Ashley Tabor and Danny Rose.
Ryan Seacrest Prods. continues to staff up as part of its expansion under the rich new production deal with NBCUniversal. The company has hired veteran producer Nina Wass to steer its scripted efforts. Wass will serve as EVP, Scripted Programming, reporting to RSP CEO Adam Sher.
Branching out into scripted has been a major priority for Seacrest, whose company established itself as a reality powerhouse off the success of the Keeping Up with the Kardashians franchise. Wass spent eight years at Touchstone TV/ABC Studios where she was partnered with Gene Stein. She currently projects in development at Lifetime, TVland, and Showtime. On the executive side, she did a stint as SVP of Creative Affairs for The Oprah Winfrey Network. Wass joins veteran digital entertainment executive Sibyl Goldman who was recently tapped as EVP of New Media for Ryan Seacrest Prods.
Last year RSP sold a small-screen adaptation of The Nanny Diaries with Harvey Weinstein into development at ABC. Additionally, RSP recently sold a Jonathan Shapiro project about a former police detective who is a “fixer” to FX – also in a collaboration with The Weinstein Co. The company is developing dozens of unscripted and scripted shows across cable and broadcast networks, indulging a pilot with Sony for CBS based on the Zynga game Draw Something. On the film side, RSP has a romantic comedy in the works at Universal with Reese Witherspoon producing and Grey’s Anatomy scribe Krista Vernoff writing.
On the heels of Ryan Seacrest Prods. signing a wide-ranging new deal with NBCUniversal, the company has hired its first in-house PR executive, 42West EVP Kelly Mullens Brown who handled Ryan Seacrest’s company at the entertainment PR agency. Mullens Brown is joining Ryan Seacrest Prods. in a bigger role — she will serve as EVP of External Relations effective July 9. She will oversee communications, philanthropy and community relations and will be involved in marketing, sponsorship, strategy, and new business development, reporting to Seacrest and working closely with CEO Adam Sher and CFO Jeff Refold.