Former Miramax exec becomes acquisitions VP
Jeff Tahler, a former Miramax exec, has been tapped by global TV conglom Fremantle as VP of acquisitions for North America.Idea is to further propel the company’s evolution as an acquirer and worldwide distributor of Yank-originated fare — especially high-end cable-bound fiction series. Fremantle is the powerhouse behind the “American Idol” franchise. Based in the company’s new outpost in Burbank, Tahler reports directly to FremantleMedia Enterprises CEO David Ellender. Tahler will be authorized to nurture and expand FME’s relationships with U.S. producers and talent agents, acting as the division’s point person in the Hollywood community. “Things are heating up on the content acquisitions front because American producers know international is ever more important to their success,” Tahler told Daily Variety on Wednesday. Echoing comments made by Ellender at the recent Mip TV sales bazaar in Cannes, Tahler emphasized that Fremantle would avoid going up against the Hollywood majors, zigging for product where they zag, as it were. “To have a dedicated resource on the ground in L.A. is of vital importance to us as we move forward in ever more competitive times,” Ellender said. To that end, Tahler will most conspicuously concentrate on securing multiple rights to edgy or young-skewing cable series — shows such as the trio Ellender is currently handling abroad: “Falcon Beach,” “Love You to Death” and “The Best Years. ” While Tahler keys on such projects for global distribution, FME veep of program distribution Lisa Honig, who jumpstarted the U.S. acquisitions push, will concentrate on sales and co-production, particularly format sales in Canada. Having started his showbiz career as Harvey Weinstein’s assistant, Tahler went on for nine years at Miramax to set up the indie’s family entertainment unit and to forge relationships with key Euro, Canuck and Yank film and TV producers. For the company he also worked on “Project Runway,” a property Fremantle handles abroad.