Exec named senior veep at cabler

NEW YORK — TBS Superstation has promoted Jim Head to senior veepee of original programming, the cable web announced Monday.

Head’s promotion comes as TBS puts its first originally produced films into development, and as the cable web signals its commitment to produce original series.

Head, who was VP of original programming and is based in Atlanta and Los Angeles, will oversee the network’s development and production staff. He’ll report to Bill Burke, president of TBS Superstation.

Until last year, TBS focused its original production on nonfiction programs but has since shifted its strategy to create more mainstream films and series.

The Turner cable net just finished production on its first original movie, a cyberthriller called “Fatal Error,” starring Antonio Sabato Jr., Janine Turner and Robert Wagner.

Head’s first project as TBS’ VP of original programming was to create the “Monkey-ed Movies” shorts, featuring costumed chimpanzees and orangutans acting out parodies of Hollywood blockbusters. Head is in charge of turning the shorts into a regular half-hour series.

Head also was in charge of TBS Superstation’s deal to produce the weekly series “The New Ripley’s Believe It or Not,” scheduled to premiere in January 2000.

Burke said TBS will premiere four original films in 1999 and will increase that number from six to 10 movies a year over the next three years. The cable web aims to create one original series next year and at least two the following year.

Burke said TBS’ original program strategy is centered around broad, male-targeted entertainment such as action movies.

“If we win Emmy awards, that’s great, but winning Emmys in not our goal,” Burke said. “We’re not going for high-brow. It’s high-concept, meat-and-potatoes action movies.”

Head came to TBS Superstation in 1995 from his position as senior counsel in Turner Broadcasting System’s legal department, serving as legal liaison for Turner Entertainment Group’s program acquisition division.

“In addition to being a really creative guy, Jim really understands the business affairs side of the deals,” Burke said.

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