New programming staff 'opens for business' Mon.
TLC’s new Los Angeles headquarters will hang an “open for business” sign on Monday, as the net’s new programming team officially takes its seat.New TLC senior veep of programming Brant Pinvidic has hired a dozen primetime programming execs from a variety of studios, networks and production companies to help usher in the cabler’s new West Coast era. Pinvidic said he spent six weeks putting together his team. “I went to people I always admired and thought were stars,” he said. “We were looking for really creative, dynamic execs with energy and passion. Being on the selling side for the past few years (at GRB Entertainment), I got to meet a lot of the buyers who have those skills.” That group includes programming veep Brent Zacky, who moves to TLC from E! Entertainment TV, where he exec produced shows such as “The Girls Next Door” and “Dr. 90210.” “He’s got a lot of skills I don’t possess,” Pinvidic said. “I asked him if there was any way he’d come over and make it work.” Also new to the channel are a pair of executive directors: Tracey Lentz, who comes from GSN, and Christy Dees, a former development VP for Asylum Entertainment. Named directors of programming: Angela Molloy, formerly international development VP at 3Ball Prods.; Eric Black, former development VP at Pie Town Prods.; Stephanie Bianco, former current series director at the Style network; and Mariana Manela, former alternative/specials director at NBC Entertainment. As managers of programming, TLC has hired former GRB development director Holly Hines; former Madison Road Entertainment director Chris Ceccarelli; and ex-Fox TV Studios manager Jennifer McGovern. John Hein and Brian Robles also join as coordinators. “We were able to handpick execs with different skills to augment each other,” Pinvidic said. “When you’re building a team this large, you want to make sure people gel.” The new execs will be handed a mix of returning shows and new development to handle; TLC has already purchased more than a dozen projects to start working on, he said. “There’s going to be a steep learning curve here in terms of saying, ‘Here are the shows that are working; how do we make them stick?’ and ‘Here are the shows that aren’t; how do we make these shows say they’re a TLC show?'” Under prexy-general manager Angela Shapiro-Mathes, who spearheaded TLC’s move from Discovery’s Maryland HQ to Los Angeles, Pinvidic said he’s been given the creative freedom “to take some big shots.” “A lot of the (new hires) had frustration at the other networks, a lot of red tape and layers,” he said. “There’s no red tape here. There are no layers here.” Pinvidic said viewers will start to see the impact of TLC’s new West Coast management by the middle of next year. The net’s current prime hits include “L.A. Ink,” “What Not to Wear,” “Little People Big World” and real estate shows such as “Property Ladder.” Cabler launches the “Miss America Live” reality skein and special in January.