MGM names Marenzi TV co-prexy

Efforts will focus on international marketplace

Gary Marenzi has joined MGM as co-prexy of worldwide television, sharing overall responsibility for the division with Jim Packer.

Move comes as Lion chairman Harry Sloan focuses on upgrading the ranks of his TV divisions to reflect the fact that revenues from TV exploitation are the lifeblood of the company.

Marenzi will work alongside Packer, and together the two will oversee the studio’s TV sales operations.

On a day-to-day basis, Marenzi will focus his efforts on the international marketplace, while Packer will concentrate on distribution, channels and digital media for North America, working closely with MGM exec VP of Worldwide Digital Media Douglas Lee.

The appointment is something of a homecoming for Marenzi, who worked for three years in London as the head of pay TV for UIP (repping Universal, Paramount and MGM product) and then as president of the MGM Telecommunications Group from 1992-97.

Packer and Marenzi will report directly to MGM chief operating officer Rick Sands, who unveiled the new hire Monday.

Marenzi told Daily Variety that the best times of his career were spent at the Lion, and he expects the new stint to be equally rewarding. “MGM has such a huge library and so many franchises, and there are so many new platforms to exploit.”

“By teaming Gary with Jim, we now have assembled a formidable team that will grow MGM’s business worldwide,” Sands said.

Marenzi was responsible in his former stint at MGM for getting the “Stargate” TV franchise off the ground via a deal with Showtime. That ongoing series has become a TV linchpin for the company the way the Bond films are on the movie side.

“New ways to deliver and consume content are presenting themselves almost daily, and with our combined experience in the television business, Gary and I will give MGM a competitive advantage in capitalizing on these new opportunities,” Packer added.

Since June 2006, Marenzi has held the role of president of Ensequence, where he spearheaded efforts to develop interactive television programming applications worldwide.

During the same time, he was president of Marenzi & Associates, which he founded in 2004, and whose clients included Lucasfilm and Imax Corp.

Prior to founding his own firm, Marenzi was president of international television for Paramount Pictures for seven years.

Packer, who joined MGM in 2001, initially served as exec VP, domestic TV. Packer was named president of worldwide television at MGM in September 2006.

Marenzi and Packer will be based at the studio’s headquarters in Century City, Calif.

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