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Spike TV taps Mansfield for programming

Cabler's now content with exec team

Spike TV chief Doug Herzog has finalized his new programming team, naming longtime Showtime exec Pancho Mansfield as exec VP of original programming.

Herzog, who added Spike to his Viacom bailiwick in January, recently bolstered the cabler’s West Coast presence, hiring Sharon Levy as senior VP of alternative programming and Bill McGoldrick as VP of scripted series (Daily Variety, June 23).

Mansfield, who starts officially on July 11, will report directly to Herzog and spearhead all of Spike’s original programming, development and production. Both Levy and McGoldrick will now report to Mansfield, who also will be based in Los Angeles.

Restructuring of the programming department — division essentially has switched coasts — signals Spike’s renewed commitment to original programming. Cabler’s success until now has been tied to the World Wresting Entertainment franchise (which relocates to USA this fall) and “CSI” repeats.

“Starting from scratch is a wonderful place to be in, and I’m looking forward to the challenge,” Mansfield said. “Spike’s a relatively young network with great brand recognition. It’s time now to go to the next phase.”

He will spend the rest of the summer focused on mining original drama projects with the goal of getting one or two on the air by next year. Mansfield said he’s open to any show with a strong male point of view, ranging from horror or sci-fi to character-driven drama.

“The main thing is that we’re serious about doing high-quality programming. For now, a big part of my job will be to let the agents, producers and creative community know we’re in the game,” he said. “We’re going to be competitive and we’re in this for the long haul.”

During his 12 years at Showtime, where he most recently served as senior VP of development, Mansfield helped develop projects including “Queer as Folks,” “Stargate SG-1” and “The Outer Limits.” His credits also include the miniseries “Hiroshima.”

“Pancho’s innovative ideas and creative leadership in the development and production of Showtime’s signature hit series will be an invaluable resource to us,” Herzog said. 

Mansfield added that Spike has several reality skeins but few scripted projects at various stages of development. Among the drama contenders is the TV series adaptation of “Blade,” a pilot in pre-production with scribe David Goyer (“Batman Begins”) attached.

Spike’s news/documentaries and sports divisions will continue to be handled out of New York under the direction of exec VP Kevin Kay. Acquisitions remain under the watch of senior VP Robert Friedman.

Before Showtime, Mansfield worked in the lit division of Artists Agency.

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