EXCLUSIVE: FremantleMedia North America COO Donna Redier Linsk has opted not to renew her contract. Redier Linsk will exit the company in July and segue into a new role as a consultant at FMNA’s Fox series American Idol until December. Chief Operating Officer was a new position established by FMNA in 2009 when Redier Linsk was brought in by then-CEO Cecile Frot-Coutaz from Fox Broadcasting, where she had been SVP Business Affairs and Alternative Production for five years. At FMNA, Redier Linsk oversaw production, finance, business and legal affairs for all of the company’s entertainment programming and was actively involved in day-to-day production of American Idol, The X Factor and America’s Got Talent. FMNA is expected to name a replacement. “I want to thank Donna for the contribution she made to our business over the last four years,” said Frot-Coutaz, now CEO of parent company FremantleMedia. “She brought us her relentless rigor, business acumen, passion for production and incredible dedication. I will miss her dearly.” Added FMNA CEO Thom Beers, “Donna is an amazing talent.”
EXCLUSIVE: Original Productions, the FremantleMedia-owned company founded by prolific reality producer Thom Beers, has returned to WME. Beers moved his company from WME to CAA last June. Two months later, he was named CEO of FremantleMedia North America. As a result, Original underwent executive restructuring, with Philip Segal replacing Beers as CEO & executive producer and Jeff Conroy named president and executive producer. Beers holds a chairman title at Original in addition to his CEO duties at parent FMNA. Since its inception in 1997, Original has produced more than 2,500 hours of TV, including 250 hours in the last year. The company currently has 14 series airing on cable, including The Deadliest Catch, Bering Sea Gold, Ice Road Truckers, Ax Men, Wild Justice, Storage Wars, Storage Wars: Texas and American Hoggers.
It’s a done deal. I’ve learned that FremantleMedia this week will announce the long-rumored appointment of Thom Beers as CEO of FremantleMedia North America. The prolific producer will succeed longtime FMNA CEO Cécile Frot-Coutaz who on July 1st assumed her new position as CEO of the entire FremantleMedia company, which is owned by RTL. Beers is already in the FMNA fold after the company acquired 75% in his Original Prods. in 2009 for a reported $50 million. He also held a CEO title for 13 years, since launching his Original Prods in 1999. He remained Original CEO after the company’s acquisition by FMNA.
There have been a slew of rumored candidates for the FMNA CEO job since Frot-Coutaz’s promotion was announced in April. The list included outside contenders as well as a strong internal candidate, COO Donna Redier Linsk.
Beers has produced more than 1,400 hours of original programming, including some of basic cable’s top unscripted shows. Original’s portfolio includes unscripted cable series The Deadliest Catch, Storage Wars, Storage Wars: Texas, Bering Sea Gold, Ice Road Truckers, Ax Men, Wild Justice and Black Gold. In an interesting footnote, Beers in June signed with CAA, while his previous agency, WME, handles FMNA. FMNA does not have a formal agency representation but has been with Mark Itkin for over a decade, first at WMA and then at WME.
EXCLUSIVE: Original Prods, the FremantleMedia-owned company of prolific reality producer Thom Beers, has signed with CAA. Beers has produced more than 1,400 hours of original programming. Original’s portfolio includes unscripted cable series The Deadliest Catch, Bering Sea Gold, Ice Road Truckers, Ax Men, Wild Justice, Storage Wars, Storage Wars: Texas and Black Gold. Storage Wars made its return to A&E’s schedule this week with some 5 million viewers tuning in for the third-season premiere Tuesday. Beers was previously at WME.
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline Hollywood‘s TCA coverage.
At first at Monday’s TCA, the theme seemed to be high hopes for traditional comedies aimed at mainstream, heartland Americans: TV Land’s tribute to the mores of the Midwest, Hot in Cleveland and the network’s new Retired at 35, as well as the CMT’s first scripted series Working Class, whose title speaks for itself. Later in the morning, another series was introduced that appears to be lionizing the true-blue American hero: Spike TV’s documentary-reality series Coal, from producer Thom Beers, about the lives of Appalachian coal miners. Coming on the heels of the national story of the trapped Chilean miners who became international heroes, Spike TV executives said they expect the show to tap into an “older and broader” male audience than Spike’s previous target demographic of 18-34. The show premieres on March 30.
IFC just announced a development slate featuring eight original series – scripted and non-fiction from such auspices as Thom Beers (Ice Road Truckers, Deadliest Catch); Reveille Prods. (The Biggest Loser); Alan Spencer (Sledge Hammer!) and David Wain (Role Models), among others. “This development slate represents our long-term commitment to comedy programming that is sharp, cool and twisted,” said Debbie DeMontreux, IFC’s SVP of original programming. “Originals like these live alongside current series The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, the upcoming Onion News Network and Portlandia in 2011, and acquired series Arrested Development and Freaks and Geek.” Here are descriptions of IFC’s series in development:
Spike TV is recalibrating its male demo focus with a new scripted slate catering to the older portion of the 18-49 demographic. The cable network’s development slate features 6 comedies from such auspices as veteran SNL and 30 Rock director Beth McCarthy Miller, top reality producer Thom Beers, and Wild Hogs director Walt Becker as well as one drama. ”We have spent the last few years successfully bringing in Men 18-34 with a mix of action, outrageous comedy and fun infotainment.” said Spike TV president Kevin Kay. “Now we’re focused on bringing 25-49 year-olds with scripted fare that they can relate to – especially workplace and family humor.” He described Spike’s new development as “a little broader, more content (aka advertiser)-friendly and a little bit older.” The network’s projects also feature more strong female characters, Kay said. The goal is to find a companion for Spike’s hit comedy Blue Mountain State and launch a comedy block. As for drama F.T.W., Kay said he wasn’t looking to develop in the hourlong arena but loved the spec script and found it very timely as it deals with an undercover officer infiltrating extremist militia. The trend of Spike going older and broader is not limited only to the scripted side. In the reality area, it is exemplified by the recently greenlighted coal mining docu series from Beers. Here is a list of Spike’s new scripted projects with descriptions:
Before the miraculous rescue of the 33 Chilean miners trapped underground for more than 2 months, there was the tragedy of the 29 West Virginia coal miners who died in an underground explosion in April. Spike TV this morning announced a new docu-reality series from The Deadliest Catch producer Thom Beers that explores the dangers of coal mining through the eyes of Mike Crowder and Tom Roberts, co-owners of Cobalt Mine in Westchester, West Virginia, and the area’s miners, families and community members. The 10-episode series will premiere in April 2011. It will be produced by Beers’ Original Prods.