'Schmo' pro tapped West Coast sr. veepee
HOLLYWOOD — Spike TV chief Doug Herzog has formed a West Coast development team, appointing Sharon Levy senior VP of alternative programming, a newly created position.
Levy joins former USA exec Bill McGoldrick, whom Herzog hired as a VP of original scripted series last month (Daily Variety, May 31). The two execs rep the cabler’s first development presence on the West Coast. Levy and McGoldrick, who officially start in early July, will report directly to Herzog.
Move for Los Angeles-based Levy, part of the team behind Spike’s hit reality skein “The Joe Schmo Show,” reunites her with Herzog, who was her boss at Comedy Central during his first tour of duty there while she was director of PR.
“Sharon has developed many hit shows that target men, and her immeasurable skills will bring more brand-defining original programs to the network,” Herzog said. “Bill’s experience creating signature hit series is an ideal fit for us and makes him exceptionally qualified for his new role.”
Levy hails from Stone and Co. Entertainment (formerly Stone Stanley Entertainment), where she spent five years as exec VP of programming. There she exec produced ABC’s “The Mole,” NBC’s “Fame” and both seasons of “Joe Schmo” for Spike.
“When I worked with Spike on ‘Joe Schmo,’ I got the bug for the brand itself,” Levy said. “I’m already naturally attracted to sports and explosions and always first in line to see a good zombie movie.”
Levy says she will spend her first few months at the men’s network reaching out to key reality producers in order to attract some “buzzworthy primetime programming.”
“This summer has just reinforced that reality is still hot and important to any network,” she said. “The broadcasters are taking some interesting chances that are paying off, and I hope to do the same thing here at Spike.”
After several at-bats in the reality genre, Spike connected with competish skein “The Ultimate Fighter.” Series averaged a big 2.1 million viewers in its first season, and the men’s cabler has renewed it for two more cycles in its own Saturday night franchise (Daily Variety, May 3).
As for McGoldrick, he’ll be searching for the kind of series that have made FX and HBO major players in scripted programming.
“I watch ‘Deadwood’ and ‘Rescue Me’ and ‘The Wire’ — in addition, of course, to the shows I helped develop at USA, ‘Monk’ and ‘The 4400’ — and any of those shows would be good Spike shows,” McGoldrick said. “What they’ve done so well here is get the brand out there. I don’t know any guy that doesn’t know what Spike is.”
He added that “scripted” means anything from animation to half-hour to drama to comedy. “Doug has left it wide open.”
Levy’s other credits include GSN’s “American Dream Derby” and skeins for Fox, the WB, Comedy Central and MTV. Prior to her first stint at Comedy Central, where she led the publicity for “The Man Show” and “South Park,” she worked in PR for Sci Fi Channel.
In addition to “Monk” and “The 4400,” McGoldrick helped develop “Kojak” for USA. He began his career at Stephen Chao Inc.