New Line TV expands

Campbell to spearhead push for production

New Line Television has tapped former ABC exec Tom Campbell as senior VP of development and production in an effort to broaden the company’s development slate and boost its profile in Hollywood.

Campbell, who will be based in New Line’s Los Angeles office, will team with New Line TV senior VP Laura Armstrong in spearheading the push to beef up New Line’s production activity for the network syndication and cable markets. He reports to New Line’s Gotham-based TV prexy, Bob Friedman.

Campbell’s arrival at New Line coincides with the departure of company vet Sasha Emerson, who had been New Line TV’s exec VP. In a behind-the-scenes plot twist worthy of a TV movie, Emerson opted to ankle New Line earlier this year when her contract expired to pursue a longtime dream of opening a furniture store.

The six-year-old TV arm of Time Warner-owned New Line Cinema is focused on developing longform projects, drama series and reality/nonfiction programming. In the works for fall is a “Mortal Kombat” syndie live-action series, and an animated revival of “Lost in Space” for the Fox Kids Network. New Line also recently signed an exclusive development deal with producer Ilene Kahn Power (HBO’s “Gia”).

“We want to ratchet New Line Television up to the next level,” said Friedman. “We have a two-pronged approach to our development process: We work on projects in a synergistic way with (the film side), and we look for projects that fit our creative sensibilities.”

On the synergy side, there’s growing buzz in TV circles about a small-screen adaptation of New Line Cinema’s retro-camp 1997 hit “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.” Friedman wouldn’t elaborate on New Line TV’s specific plans, but sources say the property is being groomed for TV, possibly with another production partner.

New Line TV will steer clear of the fiercely competitive half-hour comedy field and its requisite megabuck writer-producer development deals. New Line TV has more to offer by focusing on hour dramas, telefilms and quirkier reality-oriented programming, Friedman said.

In expanding the Los Angeles office, Friedman says New Line TV aims to work more closely with programmers and development execs at webs within the Time Warner family, specifically TNT, TBS, HBO and the WB Network. New Line TV development VP Patrick Moran will now report to Campbell and Armstrong. Chris Russo, New Line TV’s exec VP of franchise programming and marketing, will continue to oversee development opportunities on the East Coast.

Campbell comes to New Line after spending the past three years as VP of daytime programming for ABC, where he was involved in the launch of the new Barbara Walters daytime strip, “The View.” Before joining ABC, Campbell served stints as a programming and development exec for MTV and HBO.

(Dan Cox contributed to this report.)

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