Lion TV opens L.A. lair

Brits bring reality roaring into U.S.

U.K.-based reality factory Lion TV is expanding its U.S. presence, tapping Tracy Green to run a newly opened Los Angeles office.

Separately, Lion has just pacted with Discovery to bring the company’s “Cash Cab” format to the States. Skein will mark the first time Discovery has aired a gameshow.

Green has been named executive VP of Lion Television USA and charged with staffing up and overseeing the company’s West Coast offices in Santa Monica.

Lion Television co-founder Nick Catliff, who confirmed the hiring, called Green a “tremendously skilled creative executive” with an “extensive background in developing programming for network and cable.”

Green comes to Lion after a stint at Original Prods., the force behind skeins such as Discovery’s “Monster Garage” and “Deadliest Catch.” She previously was head of development for Eric Schotz’s prolific LMNO Prods., where she most recently was co-exec producer of the pilot for “Fire Me … Please!”

In her new post, Green will oversee development and production activities on the West Coast, with an eye on targeting projects for sale to broadcast nets and L.A.-based cablers. She’ll also work to bring Lion formats across the Pond and will work closely with Lion producer and exec VP Tony Tackaberry, who oversees Lion’s New York offices.

Green said Lion”s goal is “to become as big a player in the U.S. as they are in Britain” as well as to “send shows both ways”” across the Atlantic.

“It’s a hard business and extremely competitive, but I don’t think there’s a better time to come in as a British company,” she said, noting the recent successes of Blightly shingles such as BBC Worldwide (“Dancing With the Stars”) and Granada (“Hell’s Kitchen”) can only help Lion.

“The more successful they are, the more welcome I am when I walk in the door of a network with a British format,”” Green said.

Exec plans to immediately begin staffing up Lion’s L.A. office and expects to bring in between 25 and 50 producers, editors and developers in the next few months.

Green expects to start pitching several projects immediately, including a bargain-hunting format fronted by U.K. star David Dickinson. “He’s a real character, and we’re looking for a way to bring him out here … (with a) bigger, broader version of ”Antiques Roadshow.” ”

Lion also believes there’s “a lot of room in reality” for comedy-based projects, Green said.

Company’s current U.S. series include “It Takes a Thief” on Discovery, “Sheer Dallas” on TLC and PBS’ “History Detectives.” Lion also has two secret projects in the work at Fox.

Meanwhile, the deal for “Cash Cab” at Discovery was overseen by Catliff and Tackaberry. Production is expected to begin shortly on the pilot episode.

Skein surprises unsuspecting taxicab passengers in major cities, giving them the chance to win big money if they correctly answer the questions their driver asks them.

Because the show is being set up at Discovery, questions are expected to be more like those seen on “Jeopardy”” rather than, say, “”Hollywood Squares.”

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