Krantz plants flag at WBTV

Producer's credits include '24,' 'Felicity,' 'Sports Night'

Former Imagine Television topper Tony Krantz has finalized plans to set up shop at Warner Bros. Television.

Krantz, who’s in the process of finding a name for his new company, has already assembled a team to start developing projects immediately.

Under terms of the three-year deal, Warner Bros. will fully fund the company’s overhead costs. Krantz will work closely with Warner Bros. TV Group exec veepee Bruce Rosenblum, Warner Bros. TV prexy Peter Roth and Warner Bros. TV exec veepee Craig Huengs.

“When I look at Bruce and Craig and Peter, these are people who have nice hearts,” Krantz said. “You feel like you could take a vacation with these guys, they’re those kind of mensches. When you talk to people in the entertainment business and ask who they’d most like to be in business with, they say Warner Bros. They support their TV shows qualitatively and quantitatively.”

Krantz, who first joined Imagine in 1997, parted ways with the production shingle last month. The exec secured a release from his deal at Imagine because of a difference of opinion with Imagine partners Brian Grazer and Ron Howard over how the company should operate (Daily Variety, May 24).

Krantz’s relationship with Warner Bros. Television goes back to his days as an agent at CAA, where he packaged the studio’s “ER” and “The West Wing.” Warner Bros. discussed going into business with Krantz after it became apparent he was leaving Imagine.

“His entreprenerial skills and success in finding and cultivating talent are well known,” Roth said. “We look forward to a long and fruitful relationship.”

While at Imagine Television, where he served as co-chairman and CEO, Krantz oversaw production of critically acclaimed skeins such as “24,” “Felicity,” “Sports Night” and “The PJs.” He also served as an exec producer on the David Lynch film “Mulholland Drive,” which began life as an ABC pilot.

Krantz will continue to serve as exec producer on “24.” Imagine, meanwhile, enlisted former Fox exec David Nevins to take over the TV division last week.

Although creatively topnotch, of the Imagine shows only “Felicity” wound up producing enough episodes for syndication — although “24” still has a chance. Krantz said he hopes to duplicate the critical success of those Imagine shows — but with more commercial viability.

“The key to making a successful TV show is not to try, just to let it happen,” Krantz said. Krantz’s team will include Nina Lederman, who joins as executive vice president in charge of all primetime development. Krantz’s former assistant, Tom Just, joins as a manager, as does Julie Bistro, who previously served as an assistant for NBC senior VP of comedy JoAnn Alfano.

Lederman previously served as senior veep of creative affairs at Artists Television Group until that company folded operations. Prior to that, she spent five years as vice president of production at NBC Studios.

“Nina has impeccable taste and relationships,” Krantz said. “It was an instant match. I’m lucky she’s joined the company.”

During his 15 years at CAA, Krantz also packaged skeins such as “Twin Peaks,” “Melrose Place” and “Beverly Hills, 90210.”

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