Paragon Entertainment has spirited deputy program director Carol Reynolds away from pubcaster CBC in a move designed to bolster the Toronto company’s international co-production activity from its Canadian base.
Reynolds moves over Nov. 1 to fill the newly created position of president, Paragon Prods. (Canada) and vice president, international co-production.
“We want to use Canada as a pedestal on which we build our worldwide base,” says Paragon topper Jon Slan.
While Slan founded Paragon as a Canadian company in 1977, for the last six years his efforts have been focused on breaking ground on the U.S. broadcast scene. (He operates from an L.A. office while Paragon Entertainment president Richard Borchiver oversees the Toronto office.)
The result has been a markedly higher presence in the U.S. with shows like “Beyond Reality” for the USA Network, the Emmy award-winning “Lamb Chop’s Play Along” for PBS and “Forever Knight,” which ranks number one in CBS’ latenight slot. Paragon’s production slate for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 totalled $ C65 million ($ 55.25 million).
However, Slan says Canadian broadcasters have had a plethora of product, which meant much of Paragon’s movies and television series weren’t broadcast in Canada until the past year. That makes this the first year Paragon productions have been eligible for the Canadian TV awards, the Geminis.
Even with Canadian broadcaster fortunes declining, Slan believes the situation will turn around.
Paragon is currently developing a one-hour drama series, “On The Line,” with CBC. Written by Joe Weisenfeld and set in Windsor, Ontario, Slan tags it “‘Northern Exposure’ at a factory.”
He says Reynolds’ focus will be developing new series. She will develop new projects and take over productions already in development.
Coming off a 16-year stint at the CBC, Reynolds has a solid base to carry out Paragon’s objective. Along with her most recent post overseeing the network’s program schedule, she also served as head of variety programming for five years. She worked under Ivan Fecan, who apprenticed with Brandon Tartikoff when he was head of NBC.
Some of the projects already on Paragon’s slate include:
“Island Logic,” written by Naomi Janzen, the fantasy adventure series centers around a Vancouver family transplanted to an island off British Columbia.
“Subs,” one-hour drama series, written by Roy Sallows, looks at freelance cops in Toronto who step in during illness and vacation leaves.
“Through the Glass Darkly,” written by Michael Sloan, the one-hour series follows the quest of a man who runs the House of Mirrors at a circus and unravels mysteries by going back in time.
“Travelling Sam,” written by John Nichols, a one-hour drama about an established corporate lawyer who misses his ’60s roots and goes on the road to tackle grassroots cases.
Meanwhile, CBC has named Phyllis Platt, former chief of staff, arts and entertainment, to replace Reynolds.