Levine fills Warners TV exec VP slot

Witt-Thomas Prods. president Gary Levine has joined Warner Bros. TV as executive vice president of creative affairs.

Levine replaces David Janollari, who’s ankling to the studio to start his own production company with Bob Greenblatt at 20th Century Fox. Levine’s appointment was expected (Daily Variety, June 12).

Now the No. 2 exec at Warner Bros. TV under president Tony Jonas, Levine will be in charge of all network drama and comedy series development. He is the second high-level exec to join the studio in the past week: On June 24, Warner Bros. hired new top business affairs exec Craig Hunegs.

Levine has spent the past four years as president of Witt-Thomas, whose shows are funded and distributed by Time Warner. Among the series Levine has developed at Witt-Thomas are “The John Larroquette Show,” “Brotherly Love” and “Pearl,” all of which are now off the air.

In fact, for the first time in recent memory, the production company responsible for the hits “Soap,” “Golden Girls” and “Empty Nest” has no shows on the upcoming fall schedule.

Witt-Thomas partner Susan Harris is developing a midseason show for ABC, but because there’s no hurry, Witt-Thomas is not expected to replace Levine outright anytime soon. Paul Junger Witt, Tony Thomas and Harris all were on vacation and unavailable for comment.

Before his tenure at Witt-Thomas, Levine was VP of dramatic series development at ABC, where he helped create programs such as “Twin Peaks,” “Lois & Clark,” “The Commish” and “NYPD Blue.”

He also was veep of current programs at Columbia Pictures Television, and he began his career at the Roundabout Theatre Co. producing classical theater and modern dance.

Levine is joining Warner Bros. during a period of rapid change at the studio. In addition to exec shuffling in creative and business affairs, sources say Nina Tassler, the senior VP of drama development, also is considering outside options (Daily Variety, June 26).

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