Rive Gauche hires WB executive

David Auerbach to head distributor's TV operation

International entertainment distributor Rive Gauche is turning its attention to the U.S., hiring Warner Bros. vet David Auerbach to head up its TV operation.

Simultaneously, Rive Gauche CEO Jon Kramer has sealed a bank loan facility with Israel-based Bank Leumi, allowing for the company’s expansion into original production.

As head of Rive Gauche Television, Auerbach will be charged with creating original product for Rive Gauche to supply both domestic nets and the company’s international distribution arm.

“Over the last 18 months, we’ve gone through a lot of iterations on how to get bigger,” Kramer said. “We were looking at buying production companies when David became available. We feel confident David’s presence will bolster our ability to bring in projects.”

Auerbach most recently served as senior VP of alternative programming at Warner Horizon TV, where he worked on shows including “The Bachelor”; before that, he was senior VP at Warner Bros.’ Telepictures shingle, where he helped launch TMZ.com and oversaw thousands of hours of syndie fare, including “Ellen,” “Rosie O’Donnell” and “Extra.”

“After 17 years at a company that I loved, the idea of doing something entrepreneurial excited me,” Auerbach said. “The goal now is to establish our credibility as a producer and create some long-term franchises.”

Rive Gauche already has four reality series sold to cablers: Animal Planet’s “Underdawgz: Pitbulls and Parolees,” CMT’s “Wedding Day Disasters,” TLC’s “Saw for Hire” and Discovery’s “The Jones Files.”

Mark Rafalowski, Rive Gauche’s president of production and acquisitions, continues to head up development under Auerbach.

As for the Bank Leumi loan facility, Kramer said the money gives Rive Gauche the ability to fund overhead, acquisitions and co-productions.

Beyond original content, Rive Gauche handles international distribution for shows such as “The Dog Whisperer” and “Scare Tactics,” and acquires and distributes films worldwide. Company also recently launched a mobile phone unit, handling ringtones, wallpaper and other content related to its programming.

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