Berlanti’s new development

WB-based banner taps Zoetrope TV exec

Former American Zoetrope TV exec Robin Gurney has been tapped to head development at Warner Bros. TV-based shingle Berlanti/Liddell Prods.

She’ll serve as senior VP at the company, which is run by “Everwood” exec producers Greg Berlanti and Mickey Liddell.

Gurney departed American Zoetrope last month just as the Francis Ford Coppola-led banner opted to pare down its TV interests. As senior VP there, Gurney developed nine projects, including the critically acclaimed but short-lived “Platinum” (along with Greenblatt-Janollari) for UPN.

Berlanti said he first met Gurney last year when he threw an “Everwood” party at the Sundance Film Festival.

“I think she shares our same belief system — it’s about quality, not quantity,” Berlanti said. “She’s already brought us a whole bunch of writers with something important to say. She’s got a wonderful eye to identify that kind of writer.”

Berlanti, who formed his shingle with Liddell in March after signing a three-year deal with Warner Bros. (Daily Variety, March 27), said he hopes to develop at least one pilot this upcoming season.

“It’s our first year, so it’s a smaller, sharper focus,” Berlanti said. “Our mandate is to really do smart, well-crafted shows for the 18-34 demo.”

Gurney said the success of “Everwood” convinced her to join Berlanti/Liddell, which is repped by ICM.

“If ‘Everwood’ is a jumping-off point, then we have a good time ahead of us,” she said. “The intelligence and humor that go into that show is the kind of programming I want to do personally.”

Prior to her two-year stint at American Zoetrope, the Toronto native was exec director of drama at UPN, where she developed shows such as “The Dead Zone” (which later migrated to USA), “Special Unit 2” and “Freedom.”

As for American Zoetrope TV, the company opted not to renew its deal with Viacom Prods. (it expired last month) and will instead refrain from any new development in the foreseeable future.

Besides Gurney’s departure, American Zoetrope TV prexy Maira Suro has also opted to leave the company’s ranks.

American Zoetrope hasn’t completely locked up its TV interests, however.

The company still has three projects in various stages of development, including the drama “4400” at Fox and the entries “Confidence” and “Struck” at CBS. Suro continues to shepherd the company’s remaining projects as an exec producer.

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