When TV Guide Network prexy Ryan O’Hara left in early February to become CEO of the Topps trading card company in New York, it was assumed the cabler would replace him.
That doesn’t seem to be the case. Diane Robina, who began unofficially at TV Guide late in 2009 helping to oversee programming and marketing, is now the de facto head of the net’s creative side. Chairman Allen Shapiro and Lionsgate topper Jon Feltheimer — Lionsgate owns 51% and One Equity Partners owns 49% — will give their opinions on programming but are leaving most of the acquisition decisions to Robina.
“The job is getting more intense as we’re gaining more momentum,” she told Daily Variety.
TV Guide announced that it’s creating original content to tack on to the end of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” episodes, which the net recently acquired and will begin airing June 2. With Larry David on board and co-star Susie Essman as host, a panel of judges will examine the havoc David’s “Curb” persona has wrought, and judge whether he was right in how he dealt with various issues. Each segment will run seven to 10 minutes.
Robina was on the Lionsgate payroll before joining TV Guide.
Feltheimer and Shapiro, who is also managing partner of Mosaic Investment Partners and oversees TV Guide’s overall business strategy, operations and long-term growth, are instrumental in getting high-profile talent to consider working with the network. Such was the case with David and the plan for the “Curb” bonus bits.
“Allen has a wickedly sharp business mind, is demanding and fast,” Robina said. “And coming from New York, I like things fast.”
Robina said TV Guide planned to create more original fare, including scripted programs.
“If I can afford scripted, we’ll do it,” she said.