Newell, Jones tap former CBS drama exec

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Helmer Mike Newell and partner Cam Jones have tapped former CBS drama exec Laverne McKinnon to head up television operations for their 50 Cannon production banner.

McKinnon will join the shingle on July 1, serving as prexy of television production and reporting to the company’s management committee. She’ll develop series and longform projects for broadcast and cable, as well as content for new media platforms.

“We’ve known Laverne for a long time and we’ve always been impressed by her talent, her good taste, her dedication to her work and the respect she has for writers and directors,” Newell said. “We feel very lucky to be working with her.”

Newell and Jones worked with McKinnon together in 2002, when they developed the Andie MacDowell pilot “Jo” for CBS.

“Our company is growing rapidly and we’re confident that Laverne will take us to the next level in television development and production,” Jones added.

McKinnon left CBS last fall after a 10-year run at the net, ankling her post as head of drama development (Daily Variety, Nov. 17).

During her tenure at the network, exec had a hand in developing CBS hits such as “Without a Trace,” “Cold Case,” “Criminal Minds” and “Shark.” Before being tapped to head drama in 2004, McKinnon worked in current programming and kidvid.

McKinnon said Newell’s “eclectic and impeccable creative sensibility” would provide “a strong platform (on) which to build a television company.”

Before joining CBS, McKinnon briefly worked as an agent and then headed up development for Klasky-Csupo (“Rugrats”).

Newell and Jones launched 50 Cannon in 2000, opening offices in L.A. and Blighty. On the TV front, duo exec produced Showtime’s “Huff.” Company also inked a 3-for-1 development deal with ABC Television Studio last year (Daily Variety, Sept. 12).

“Love in the Time of Cholera,” Newell’s next feature, is currently in post-production and is slated for release later this year.

(Dave McNary contributed to this report).

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