Ex-CBS exec Campbell tops Miramax TV

Osher set to handle biz affairs

Former CBS executive vice president Billy Campbell has been named president of the fledgling Miramax Television division.

Campbell, based in Los Angeles, will oversee all TV development and production for the new unit of Miramax Films and Dimension Films, reporting to co-chairmen Bob and Harvey Weinstein.

Campbell ankled his post as executive vice president at CBS Entertainment a few months ago and has been in talks with several different media companies (Daily Variety, April 17). The Miramax move had been rumored for weeks.

Osher’s duties expand

Bob Osher, Miramax Films’ co-president of production, will take on responsibility for business affairs and physical production at Miramax TV, in addition to his current duties.

Campbell said he hopes to be able to tap the literary talent and ideas from Tina Brown’s new magazine venture, and he wants to use Miramax’s film writers, directors and actors to launch TV shows.

“Young film writers, directors and cast members desperately want to do TV,” Campbell said. “The line used to be blurred, but now, I honestly think it’s gone.”

Writer Kevin Williamson, who has a film and TV deal at Miramax, for instance, is creator of the WB’s “Dawson’s Creek” and has written features such as “Scream” and “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” among other films.

Focus is wide

Campbell will focus mainly on series, specials and telefilms for network TV, but he’s also eyeing talkshows, gameshows and animation for firstrun syndication and cable. “With the proliferation of networks, weblets, cable channels and satellite, there’s such an appetite for programming,” he said.

Despite Miramax’s stellar reputation in the film business, it’s a tough time for new players to break into the TV business. Networks are developing more and more product inhouse, while indie companies and studios that don’t own networks are frequently getting shut out. However, Miramax may have a decent shot at getting product on ABC, given their common ownership by the Walt Disney Co.

“Clearly ABC, I hope, will be a wonderful place to develop shows,” Campbell said. “But people want to be involved with Miramax. They get things done.”

Miramax has already announced one TV project in development, the gameshow “What’s My Line,” and there have been several other rumored projects. Campbell said he’ll evaluate the ideas already on the table, but he has plenty of his own and will likely start from scratch.

His resume

At CBS, Campbell was the No. 2 entertainment executive to CBS TV topper Leslie Moonves, and prior to joining the Eye web in 1995, Campbell worked with Moonves at Warner Bros. TV as a senior vice president of drama development.

Campbell decided to leave the Eye web when it became clear he would not become entertainment president after Moonves was promoted to the TV CEO post. Among the series Campbell had a hand in developing at Warner Bros. and CBS are “ER,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Early Edition” and “Nash Bridges.”

He began his career at ABC Entertainment in the current programming department, overseeing production on such series as “MacGyver,” “Dynasty” and “China Beach.” Before ABC, he was an analyst in mergers and acquisitions at Smith, Barney, Harris Upham & Co. in New York.

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