Ray-Art rockets on

TV indie diversifies into film production

Ray-Art Studios, the indie TV production house co-owned by “Nash Bridges” exec producers Robert Papazian and James Hirsch, has fired up a film division.

Development veep Daniel Tibbets will steer film projects while continuing his present duties developing for TV. Tibbets will scout out co-production deals with major studios and look to pre-sell material in foreign markets.

On the TV side, Tibbets is in development on a Hirsch-penned one-hour drama series, “Conch,” about undercover agents in Florida, and the telepic “Three Mile Island” based on interviews with witnesses to the nuclear disaster. The studio is nearing deals with HBO and Showtime.

Even with a busy TV slate, adding a film division was a logical step, Tibbets said. Hirsch and Papazian have “produced over 85 TV movies at $3 million-$5 million budgets; they can bring that same expertise to the independent film world.”

Goal oriented

Papazian and Hirsch have similarly kind words for Tibbets. “Daniel’s unique ability to deal effectively with creative talents and production companies and his ability to foster strategic alliances here and abroad is right to achieve our company’s goals,” they said in a statement.

Tibbets previously worked as manager of development at Eyemark Entertainment. While there, he oversaw production on syndie series “Martha Stewart Living”; “Psi Factor,” with Dan Aykroyd; and “Pensacola: Wings of Gold,” starring James Brolin.

Besides “Nash Bridges,” Hirsch and Papazian’s producing credits include TV movies “The Day After,” “The China Lake Murders,” “Inherit the Wind,” “The Betty Ford Story” and “In the Best Interest of the Child.”

The two teamed 2-1/2 years ago to form Ray-Art, which has five soundstages spread over 12 acres in the San Fernando Valley.

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