Columbia TriStar Domestic Television has restructured its development team, recruiting Jamie Erlicht to oversee the creation of broadcast network programming.
Under the new setup, Col TriStar will divide oversight of its development by network, cable and syndication. Melanie Chilek oversees syndicated programming development, while Zack Van Amburg handles cable programming development.
All three execs serve as senior vice presidents and report to Russ Krasnoff, CTDT’s president of programming and production.
“We’ve decided that since we are going to be heavily in the network primetime business, the cable primetime business and in the syndication business, it makes sense to have a senior vice president of each category,” Krasnoff said. “Strangely, right now a third of our business is in network, a third in cable and a third in syndication.”
Krasnoff said the three execs will work as a team during the early stages of a project’s development. Once it becomes clear where that show belongs, the exec in charge of that division will take over from there.
Erlicht most recently served as VP of creative affairs at Artists Television Group. Her resume also includes a stint as director of current programming at Columbia TriStar Television.
“This is a great opportunity to develop, sell and produce network shows that are unique, viable and above all else, passion projects,” Erlicht said.
Chilek has served at Sony since 1994, working her way up to senior veepee in 1999. Van Amburg joined the studio in 1997 and became senior VP in 2001. The two execs have developed a number of projects at Sony, including “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” and “Judge Hatchett.”
Erlicht’s hire may put to rest any lingering notions that Sony dropped out of the broadcast network biz when it downsized Col TriStar Television last fall. “So many people talk about what our company is today; this is about what our company will be in the future,” Krasnoff said.
Heading into development season without a roster of highly paid writers and producers, Krasnoff said the studio will take a significantly different approach this year. “It’s not about how do we get those writers’ two or three scripts placed and get commitments from the networks for those projects,” he said. “This is now about individual pieces of business and product that we’re excited about. It’s much more project-driven than it is volume-driven.”