Gang of four step into Silverman's shoes
It will take four execs to replace Ben Silverman as head of Reveille, the indie production shingle that produces “The Office” and “Ugly Betty.”
Company will be run collectively by a quartet of managing directors: Howard Owens, Mark Koops, Chris Grant and Lee Rierson. Execs — all of whom have been at the company for some time — will continue to concentrate on specific responsibilities, with Owens and Koops serving as co-heads of domestic TV; Grant running worldwide distribution and serving as prexy of Reveille Intl.; and Rierson set as head of business and operations. Owens also will continue heading up Reveille’s digital unit.
Meanwhile, the new team of directors has upped Todd Cohen to VP of domestic scripted television. He replaces Teri Weinberg, who’s running day-to-day operations at NBC Entertainment as exec VP.
New structure means Reveille will continue to operate for the most part the way it did under Silverman, with minimal interruption.
Owens, Koops and Grant have been working together under Silverman in various capacities for nearly a decade, dating back to Silverman’s days as an agent at William Morris. And although Rierson is a newer member of the Reveille staff, as a lawyer he helped structure the deal that launched the company five years ago.
“This is definitely a tight-knit, small, familial group,” Owens said. “The only thing missing is our amazing leader, and he’s taught us very well.”
Owens, who started his career as Silverman’s assistant at the tenpercentery, compared working under the exec to earning an “MBA of executive producing and the entertainment business.”
Now, Owens said, Reveille’s four directors will look to expand Silverman’s legacy at the company via a commitment to “create, source, develop, produce and distribute programming that we are passionate about.”
“We’ve been working together for years, so we know each others’ strengths and areas of expertise,” he said. “We all have the same vision, to maintain and keep Reveille the premiere indie studio in America.”
Moving forward, Owens said the company is already acquiring several scripted formats and has new projects in the works on both the reality side and scripted sides.
Reveille is devoted to its international business “both as a means of indie distribution and also to use as leverage to get the best formats in the world,” Owens said.
On the digital front, the company is producing five pilots under its deal with MSN and preparing to take those projects out to advertisers. Reveille remains active in the feature world, with Graham Larson heading up Reveille Motion Pictures. Unit has a first-look deal with Universal Pictures.
Tuesday’s announcement, which was expected, was meant to send a sign that Reveille remains alive and active despite the departure of its founder. As part of his move to NBC, Silverman gave up any stake in future Reveille-produced product. He maintains his interest in the company’s current projects, including shows such as “The Biggest Loser” that are still a part of the net’s sked.
Reveille’s first-look deal with NBC was expanded and extended in May as part of Silverman’s transition to co-head of NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios (Daily Variety, May 30).
That means Reveille execs will sit on the opposite end of the table, pitching projects to their onetime mentor.
“He’s definitely tougher,” Owens said. “He’s definitely being more demanding. We’re being selective to make sure what we bring to him is the best and the sharpest we have to offer. Ben is being more strategic in telling us the kind of shows he’s looking for and the appetite they have at NBC. That’s giving us some exact mandates in terms of satisfying our first-look deal.”