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Stewart Till Exits As Sonar Entertainment CEO, Producer Gene Stein Named New CEO

By | Friday May 16, 2014 @ 11:12am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

sonarEXCLUSIVE: There is a change at the top of production and distribution company Sonar Entertainment, which specializes in scripted series, miniseries and TV movies. Stuart Till has abruptly stepped down as CEO, with respected industry veteran Gene Stein tapped new CEO. I hear the changeover happened yesterday in a company meeting where Stein was introduced to the 50-person staff. As he transitions out of the CEO role, Till will return to the company’s board of directors. The hire of Stein, who will be based in Los Angeles, represents an indication Sonar intends to focus on series. “Sonar continues to strengthen its brand identity as a leading global producer and supplier of outstanding series, miniseries and television movies,” said Gabriel de Alba, Chairman, Board of Directors for Sonar Entertainment. “Gene Stein is a dynamic and inspiring executive who has the vision, the leadership skills and the relationships within the creative community to take the company to the next level.”

Till had served as CEO since the company’s 2012 rebranding from RHI Entertainment to Sonar Entertainment. Before that, he served as interim co-CEO fostewart-tillllowing the 2011 departure of RHI CEO Robert Halmi Jr. There had been rumblings over the past several months about potential issues at the company under Till. I hear there had been at least one senior level production executive departure in the past few weeks.

Stein spent the past … Read More »

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Sonar, Ecosse Team For Swashbuckling Series ‘Quatermain’: MIPTV

By | Monday April 2, 2012 @ 8:23am PDT

Over the weekend, RHI Entertainment announced it had rebranded as Sonar Entertainment and appointed Stewart Till as CEO. The company also unveiled a package of new projects on hand at MIP. Today, Sonar has added action adventure series Quatermain to its development and production roster in partnership with Ecosse Films. Details are below:

CANNES, APRIL 2 – Sonar Entertainment Inc. and Ecosse Films have joined forces to develop and produce Quatermain. The new 10×60 action-adventure series is based on the classic swashbuckling stories by iconic Victorian-era author H. Rider Haggard. The announcement of the project, which is being introduced at Cannes during MIPTV, 2012, was made today by Stewart Till, CEO, Sonar Entertainment and Douglas Rae, Founder, Managing Director and Executive Producer, Ecosse Films. Rae will serve as executive producer on the project. Richard Kurti and Bev Doyle (Terry Pratchett’s Going Postal) are the writers.

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RHI Renamed Sonar Entertainment With Stewart Till As CEO

By | Saturday March 31, 2012 @ 1:11pm PDT

RHI Entertainment Inc. has rebranded as Sonar Entertainment Inc. and appointed Stewart Till CEO, board chairman Gabriel de Alba announced at MIPTV in Cannes. The company also unveiled a package of disaster-themed and other miniseries, regular series and and a quartet of two-hour TV movies. Following the departure of Robert Halmi Jr. last summer, Till had served as co-interim CEO with Mike Corrigan and David Salzman. Robert Halmi Sr. exited in February. Read More »

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RHI Entertainment Says Three Execs Will Replace Robert Halmi Jr, For Now

Looks like it takes a village to run RHI Entertainment following the resignation this month of CEO Robert Halmi Jr. The made-for-TV movie and miniseries producer that recently emerged from bankruptcy protection says it will be run on an interim basis by a three-person Office of the CEO. It includes  former MGM CFO Mike Corrigan, Lorimar Telepictures co-founder David Salzman, and Icon UK non-executive chair Stewart Till. No word on how long the “interim” period will last. Here’s the release:

NEW YORK, July 26, 2011 – RHI Entertainment has named a new interim management team, with appointments effective immediately. The announcement was made today by Gabriel de Alba, Chairman of the Board of Directors.

The appointment of members of the Office of the CEO reflects the company’s transition to a new management team that will develop a long-term focus on business and creative strategy, development and execution. In making the announcement, de Alba emphasized that the company is strongly capitalized and positioned for growth. The Office of the CEO will be comprised of industry veterans Mike Corrigan, David Salzman and Stewart Till, all of whom have previously served on the company’s Board of Directors.

RHI was successfully recapitalized in April and is rolling out a new slate of original productions headed by two event miniseries: “Neverland,” which stars Rhys Ifans, Anna Friel, Bob Hoskins and Keira Knightley and “Treasure Island,” whose all star cast includes Eddie Izzard, Elijah Wood and Donald Sutherland. “Neverland” debuts in the U.S. on Syfy and in the U.K. on Sky Movies HD later this year. “Treasure Island” debuts in the U.S. on Syfy in early 2012 and in the U.K. on Sky1 HD later this year. Both productions will also be seen on major broadcast networks worldwide.

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Icon UK Strikes First Output Deal

Canadian_flagExpect more international output deals soon. D Films, the Canadian distributor, initially plans to release between 5 and 6 films a year from the British sales and distribution company. This will rise to between 6-8.

The Icon output deal will cost D Films around C$5 million ($5 million) a year, guaranteeing 5% of the budgets for Icon’s production slate. It is estimated London-based Icon will spend $100 million on production annually. Coriolanus, Ralph Fiennes’ Shakespeare adaptation which Icon is distributing, is now in post-production.

It also gives D Films the opportunity to have Icon sell the 2-3 films it makes each year around the world.

The pact reunites Darryl Iwai, chairman of D Films, with Icon CEO Stewart Till. The pair worked together when Till ran PolyGram Filmed Entertainment and, less successfully, Signpost Films. Both Icon and D Films released Creation, starring Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connolly.

Last year, indie movies accounted for C$242 million in box office revenues, according to Montreal-based Zoom Services.

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