Indie co. taps Granada exec to oversee programming

Curt Northrup, the Granada America exec who helped launch Fox’s”Hell’s Kitchen” and VH1′s “Celebrity Fit Club,” is headed to GRB Entertainment to oversee programming and development at the indie production shingle.

Northrup will serve as senior VP at GRB, which has produced skeins such as A&E’s “Intervention” and “Growing Up Gotti.” He fills the vacancy left by the departure of former GRB programming chief Brant Pinvidic, who now heads development at cabler TLC.

GRB prexy-CEO Gary Benz said Northrup’s past experience will be an asset to the company. “He has been doing impressive work and has great relationships with the networks,” he said.

Following Pinvidic’s departure, “We knew we wanted to expand our development effort,” said Michael Branton, GRB’s exec VP of creative affairs. “Curt’s experience with turning international formats into American hits is essential in the increasingly competitive market.”

Benz has known Northrup for years, and GRB has approached him about joining the company in the past.

“What they need is exactly what I have, experience in the network business,” Northrup said. “It’s a different kind of mentality to develop network shows.”

Northrup said he’s already looking at beefing up GRB’s acquisition arm, and is looking to put producers on retainer in territories such as the U.K. and Scandinavia in order to keep up with the fast-moving unscripted marketplace.

Northrup spent the past five years at Granada America, where he developed and produced projects for numerous networks. In addition to “Hell’s Kitchen” and “Fit Club,” he was a creator and exec producer on Fox’s “Nanny 911″ and exec produced Fox’s “Kitchen Nightmares.”

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