Lucie Salhany, former topper at UPN, Fox Broadcasting Co. and Paramount TV, has once again changed channels, this time moving into cyberspace as CEO and co-prexy of Pacific Title/Mirage spinoff LifeF/X, a developer of photo-realistic, 3-D digital humans for the Internet.
Additionally, the Cambridge, Mass.-based high-tech company has tapped Atlantic Entertainment Group founder Michael Rosenblatt as chairman and co-prexy, to work alongside Salhany and oversee the strategic and corporate direction of LifeF/X.
Using patented technologies, LifeF/X creates digital humans that interact with Netizens on Web sites, without the use of high-speed modems.
Besides being used for digitally animated pics, LifeF/X’s virtual humans, called “stand-ins,” are being designed to serve as future customer service and sales representatives, trainers, entertainers, game characters and personalities for e-businesses Web-wide, as well as for e-mail, chat rooms and instant messaging. Technology was originally developed for professional medical applications.
“Lucie is one of the preeminent media/entertainment executives and has proven her ability to launch startup ventures into competitive markets with great success,” said Pete Musser, CEO of Safeguard Scientifics Inc., LifeF/X’s largest investor. “Her creativity and marketing savvy in targeting teens and young adults will be a tremendous asset to LifeF/X.”
Salhany ran the syndication division at Paramount Domestic TV and the network, syndication and production arms of Fox Broadcasting Co. and Twentieth TV before becoming UPN’s prexy and CEO, the job she left in 1997.
Rosenblatt founded Mirage Technologies Inc., which in turn founded Pacific/Title Mirage Inc. with the involvement of Safeguard Scientifics in 1997.
“Michael possesses a unique blend of technical expertise and consumer savvy, which makes him a perfect match to guide LifeF/X,” said Pete Musser, CEO of Safeguard Scientifics Inc. “He’s been the driving force behind LifeF/X since its inception and has smartly evolved its applications into the Internet space.”
Rosenblatt developed LifeF/X’s patented technologies with partners Ian Hunter and Serge Lafontaine of MIT and Peter Hunter of the U. of Auckland.
“We see a time in the near future when stand-ins will be ubiquitous across the ‘Net, introducing a high level of personalization and thereby transforming the Web from catalog to dialogue,” Rosenblatt said.
FX and post-production house Pacific Title/Mirage Studios spun off LifeF/X into a separate company last July when PTM announced its proposed and now-defunct merger with Cinema Research Corp. (Daily Variety, Oct. 1).