Chambers heading up new Griffin entertainment arm

Merv Griffin has created Merv Griffin Prods., an umbrella organization to base his entertainment and production companies.

The new MGP entertainment arm will be headed by senior VP Ernest Chambers. The division has completed two TV specials: “Who Makes You Laugh?” for ABC, and a Jackie Mason special for PBS and the BBC.

Joining the new arm are Roger Lefkon and Peter Marino. Lefkon was formerly president of entertainment at DIC, and Marino was most recently executive vice president of programming for Twentieth Television.

Tim Swift joins MGP as senior VP overseeing major corporate events as well as TV specials and concerts. Events in which Swift has had a hand over the years include the Grammy Awards, presidential galas and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame ceremonies. This past summer, he produced the AT&T concert series at the Olympics.

Kathy Carpenter, who supervised events at Griffin’s Beverly Hilton, will move to MGP as vice president.

Griffith has also acquired Corporate Event Services (CES), an event firm. Founding principal Paul Cunliffe will join MGP as a senior VP. CES’ Carleen Cappelletti, also a principal, is joining MGP as a veep.

Merged into MGP is Merv Griffin Event Prods., with Craig Waldman, who headed that unit, becoming a senior VP of MGP.

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