Michael Hirschorn is taking the wraps off his newly reconfigured Ish Entertainment, which already has several projects in the works at multiple networks.
Ish is producing three series, including eight episodes of WE’s “Find My Family,” and series set up at MTV and VH1.
The company is also developing New York magazine’s back-page feature “The Approval Matrix” into a series for Bravo; Patrice O’Neal’s “Whitey 101″-themed series for Comedy Central; and additional projects at Oxygen, TruTV and VH1.
“We’re very prudently expanding,” said Hirschorn, who parted ways with former Ish partner Stella Stolper last September. Stolper later partnered with Reveille to launch Wikked Entertainment, where she’s been developing shows.
Hirschorn has tapped former RDF USA exec VP Wendy Roth (“Wife Swap”) to serve as exec VP of series and development.
Hirschorn said Roth, whose credits include a lengthy stint at ABC News, as well as running Oprah Winfrey’s New York office, “gives us the creative and production backbone to move into network TV with confidence.”
Also joining Ish is former MTV developer Ethan Goldman, who will serve as senior VP of series and development. Having most recently served as a consultant for AMC, TruTV and Fuse, Goldman will “allow us to expand out of the youth culture space,” Hirschorn said.
Ish has relocated its base of operations to Manhattan, where the company plans to open its Chelsea headquarters next month.
On the West Coast, Ish will also maintain a presence through Madison Merritt, who has been upped to vice president of development.
“She has been crucial to the success of Ish and anchoring our West Coast presence,” said Hirschorn — who noted that Merritt played a lead role in getting both “Fix My Family” and the VH1 project to series.
The original Ish was known for its celebrity formats, creating reality vehicles for Paris Hilton (“My New BFF”), T.I. (“Road to Redemption”), 50 Cent (“The Money and the Power”) and DJ AM (“Gone Too Far”), among others.
Hirschorn said he plans to stay in that place, and will announce deals with top talent soon.
But he’s also eager to move both into broader network reality fare and scripted series. To that end, Ish plans to hire a scripted development exec later this year.
As for future initiatives, Hirschorn — who is so far bankrolling the expansion himself, with existing Ish money — is also investing in equipment
to become a one-stop shop.
Company is setting up alliances in the digital production and production services arenas.
Evolution of Ish comes as its initial development deal with MTV expires; it also has terminated its formal arrangement with Lionsgate. But Ish remains in business with the mini-major, with several projects in development.
And Lionsgate Intl. continues to distribute some Ish series abroad.
“We’re hitting a groove, developing projects and taking them to market quickly,” Hirschorn said.
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