Cox Broadcasting yesterday confirmed a major organizational restructuring that includes the resignation of rep firm TeleRep founding father/president-CEO Al Masini to concentrate on production, as reported (Daily Variety, March 22).
Phil Flanagan, president-general manager of Television Program Enterprises, TeleRep’s production and distribution arm, is also retiring. Keith Samples, president of Rysher Entertainment, assumes Flanagan’s duties while retaining his Rysher stripes.
Steve Herson will continue as president and general manager of TeleRep. TPE and TeleRep will now operate as separate Cox Broadcasting divisions with Samples and Herson both reporting to Nick Trigony, president of Cox Enterprises’ broadcasting division.
The changes are seen as an apparent precursor to combining Gotham-based TPE and recently acquired L.A.-based Rysher.
Trigony acknowledged a streamlining is in the works but wouldn’t say when. “I imagine we’re going to merge some functions,” he stated. “I imagine some functions will stay separate, too.”
Sources speculated that the focus of the company would probably shift more toward L.A., with the combined operations moving from Rysher’s Burbank headquarters into a new location.
The bottom line for the restructuring, per Trigony, was the company’s desire for “more presence” in the production area. Samples “can take us where we need to go,” said Trigony, with Masini, whom the Cox topper called “a giant in our industry,” still “doingwhat he loves to do.”
Masini is forming his own banner, Al Masini Prods., which will produce for TPE. He will still be available to TeleRep and TPE as a consultant through 1996. Flanagan’s consulting deal runs through February 1994. “Al really would like to produce,” Trigony said. “He really wanted to get out of the day-to-day rat race, (and) this allows him to do that.”
Trigony added that the change allows Masini to help out on the sales side in his consulting capacity. Flanagan, meanwhile will be “with us at least through the upfront season.”
Masini, who some 25 years ago founded TeleRep — dubbed the country’s “top-billing national TV station representative”– will produce such TPE series as “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,””Star Search,””Runaway with the Rich and Famous,””Triple Threat” and “Home Videos of the Stars,” as well as “Supermodel of the World” and “The Rich and Famous World’s Best.’
Flanagan started as general manager for TPE in 1981 following 31 years in the radio station rep biz. He was president of the Christal Company for 10 years before he sold it to Cox in 1973. Cox said that TPE became the second-largest barter syndie firm in the country under Flanagan’s stewardship.
Herson began his career with TeleRep as a seller in 1971, and then became a manager for a TeleRep New York sales team and became a VP by 1976. Herson, who was upped to VP/director of operations in 1978, was promoted to president/general manager in 1990.
Masini’s new company, headquartered in existing TPE offices in New York City, will include exec VP Mary Jane Hastings, who had been TPE’s VP/director of operations.