Network's Planet channel gets new exec producer

Discovery has tapped vet producer Andy Friendly to exec produce a project and also serve as a consultant for its new eco-themed cable channel, Planet Green.

Friendly, whose credits include launching “Entertainment Tonight,” is developing the project under his Andy Friendly Prods. banner. He’s also assisting in the development of other skeins for the channel, which is slated to launch in mid-2008.

“They’re developing a wide range of unscripted shows, from magazine to game to news to talk to reality to cooking shows,” Friendly said. “And they’ve assembled a tremendous team of producers and on-camera talent. With everyone getting into the green space, it’s smart of them to stake their claim and carve out a niche.”

Friendly’s appointment and series commitment was announced Thursday by Discovery Communications prexy/CEO David Zaslav and Planet Green president/g.m. Eileen O’Neill.

Zaslav lauded Friendly’s “inspired vision” and said he’s counting on the producer to help build Planet Green “into a buzzworthy and compelling destination for consumers across multiple platforms.”

Planet Green is already in business with several big Hollywood names, including Leonardo DiCaprio, who’s producing a reality show that follows a small Kansas town rebuilding into an all-green community after being hit by a tornado.

“It’s really amazing the amount of people coming to us and saying ‘we want to be a part of this network,’ ” Friendly said. “Having chased talent for 30 years, it’s nice to have them calling us.”

Meanwhile, Friendly is also working with Time Inc.’s magazine Real Simple to develop a TV version of the magazine (a previous version aired on PBS). And he’s developing a talk show with Hollywood rep-producer Gavin Polone, in which the outspoken Polone would host.

In film, Friendly has partnered with his brother David Friendly (“Little Miss Sunshine”) to exec produce a feature about golf’s Q School. Friendly also continues to serve as a senior consultant for Sucherman Consulting Group and is an adjunct prof at USC.

Friendly’s other credits include NBC’s “Tomorrow,” and the ABC specials “Life of Luxury.” He also served as exec producer/VP at CNBC primetime, and programming and production prexy at King World Prods.

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