Epic Records president runs shingle
Add former Epic Records president Charlie Walk to the list of media mavens who have shifted careers midstream.Walk has launched an entertainment company and simultaneously signed an exclusive overall deal with Endemol USA. Charlie Walk Entertainment Media — or CWE Media for short — will create fare for all platforms, including TV, music and online. The shingle will launch a talent management division; Walk, whose background includes promotion, is also setting up an arm focused on strategic branding. At Endemol, Walk will exec produce and develop scripted and nonscripted TV series. Newly promoted Endemol North America chairman David Goldberg engineered the deal. Walk’s CWE shingle, which will have offices in both Los Angeles and New York, already has several projects in the works, including the project “Nail’d,” which it’s producing with Endemol-owned Original Media. Walk departed Epic at the end of December after a run of more than 20 years at parent Sony Music. While in the top Epic job, he helped develop talent such as the Fray, Natasha Bedingfield, Sara Bareilles and Sean Kingston. Epic announced Walk’s replacement Monday: singer-songwriter Amanda Ghost, who takes over as Epic president Feb. 16. Walk also developed partnerships with TV outlets such as ABC, which featured Epic artists like the Fray on its shows; he signed TV food personality Rachael Ray and expanded her brand to include digital and music compilations; he sealed an integrated deal with Rhapsody to include Bareilles’ music; and he launched an early user-generated musicvideo campaign with Shakira. Before Epic, Walk was exec VP of creative marketing and promotion at Columbia Records, working with artists such as Beyonce, Mariah Carey, Will Smith, John Mayer and Jessica Simpson. In shifting to the worlds of programming, production and management, Walk is looking to apply his development experience and pop culture background to new arenas. Walk said he’s searching for “clever concepts that travel and play wide.” Goldberg has said Endemol is still aggressively pursuing both company acquisitions and production deals with talent, even in the face of a depressed economy. Conglom’s U.S. operation is behind hits such as “Wipeout,” “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” and “Deal or No Deal,” and it has several projects in the works, including the ABC reality skein “Dating in the Dark.” Endemol has also been busy sticking its foot in the scripted world, with several dramas and comedies in development at the nets this season.