TNT exec vice president Dennis Miller has been elevated to president of Turner Pictures Worldwide, a new title, giving him responsibility for all original entertainment production.
Miller will continue to oversee all TNT original production, but the new position also means the 35-year-old attorney-turned-entertainment exec will for the first time play a more strategic role at the Atlanta-based company.
With his additional title, Miller will help set Turner’s course on how to derive maximum value from Turner’s expanding programming assets, including its feature film library of more than 3,000 titles.
Turner Pictures’ first theatrical film, “Tom and Jerry–The Movie,” opened in Germany through distributor Jugend Film on Sept. 30, with a wide release in 300 screens on Oct. 1. The company’s next theatrical release is slated for 1994, a live action/animated feature starring Macaulay Culkin. “The Page Master” is rumored to have a production budget in the $ 30 million range.
Turner has not set a firm plan on how many features it will produce in the next decade, but the company is committed to exploring additional opportunities, said Turner Entertainment Group president Scott Sassa, to whom Miller reports. “The ’90s is about being crafty and finding ways to make things happen,” he said.
Sassa said the company feels it is important to have someone focusing on the big picture, in contrast to the nitty-gritty of running a network. As an example , the company might opt to make a remake for TNT and/or theatrical release based on one of the vintage films in the Turner vault. “We’ve never had anyone focusing on that before,” said Sassa.
Turner Program Services chairman Jack Petrik, who retired two months ago (Daily Variety, Aug. 27), held a similar role in the organization with broad responsibilities overseeing syndication, homevideo, licensing, engineering and international theatrical arms of Turner.
When Petrik left Turner after 10 years, his responsibilities shifted to other execs within the organization. Sassa recently was elected to Turner’s board of directors filling Petrik’s slot (Daily Variety, Sept. 15).
Miller currently splits his time between Hollywood and Atlanta. With the new title, he will be based on the West Coast.
Turner joined TNT as exec veep in 1990. He is a former president and chief operating officer of Think Entertainment. Before going to Think, he was an entertainment attorney for the Los Angeles law firm of Manatt, Phelps, Rothenberg & Phillips.