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Kenneally pilots prod’n for Rysher

Rob Kenneally has joined syndicator Rysher TPE as exec VP, creative affairs, a new position in which he’ll direct a new push into network and movie production and oversee the company’s active slate of firstrun programming.

Kenneally will report to Rysherpresident Keith Samples.

Kenneally was exec VP of network programming at Reeves Entertainment, which shuttered most domestic operations in connection with the sale of its British parent, Thames TV (Daily Variety, June 1, 1993). Since that time, Kenneally has been interacting with software and other high-techfirms and said he also hopes to help Rysher expand its interests in new media.

“The mind-set at the company is to create another studio,” Kenneally said, citing Rysher’s resources as a division of broadcasting and cable giant Cox Communications. “With the support of Cox, I think they’ll get there.”

Rysher distributes the firstrun action hour “Highlander: The Series,” with series versions of “Lonesome Dove” and “Robocop” in the wings. The company is also behind firstrun franchises “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” and “Star Search.”

Still, Rysher hasn’t been active in network production, an area where execs feel they can compete effectively, capitalizing on their know-how structuring cost-efficient deals for firstrun.

Kenneally helped oversee Reeves’ pursuit of overall deals with creative talent but said Rysher will look at less conventional means of teaming with producers to generate programs. “The word ‘traditional’ really goes out the window when it comes to how we’re going to approach the business,” he said.

Kenneally joined Reeves in November 1990 after serving as senior VP, programming and series development at Fox Broadcasting Co. He moved to that slot two years earlier, following a stint as VP of development at Fox Inc.’s network production division. Before that he was a literary packaging agent at International Creative Management.

While at Reeves, Kenneally was involved in developing such series as “Homicide: Life on the Street,” as well as the Paltrow Group’s upcoming CBS drama “The Road Home.” After Reeves shut down, that show shifted into a production arrangement with the web’s in-house division, CBS Entertainment Prods.

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