Columbia TriStar TV drama co-chiefs Danielle Stokdyk and Jennifer Gwartz have ankled their posts to set up shop at Studios USA.
Duo, recruited by former boss and newly named Studios USA programming topper Sarah Timberman, have inked a multiyear overall deal with the studio to serve as nonwriting producers, developing drama and comedy series. As part of the pact, Stokdyk and Gwartz will set up their own production banner at Studios USA.
Stokdyk and Gwartz quietly left CTTV several weeks ago, about the same time as Timberman. They had been co-heads of drama at the studio since 1999.
“Jen and Danielle are really two of the most passionate, dedicated and spirited people I know,” Timberman told Daily Variety. “They have incredible skills that lend themselves to producing,” she said. “Along with their experience as executives, their truly exceptional relationships with writers will make them a potent asset for Studios USA.”
Timberman said that in addition to producing series, Stokdyk and Gwartz will “be an integral resource in the Studios USA drama team. We’ll look to their instincts and opinions even beyond their own projects.”
Gwartz said she and Stokdyk have discussed the idea of hanging out their own shingle for some time.
“We just decided why not take the risk and jump now,” she said, adding that the presence of Timberman and Studios USA Television topper David Kissinger made the leap easier.
Stokdyk said she and Gwartz were looking forward to forging stronger relationships with scribes to create successful series. “The part of our jobs we love most is working with writers and rolling up our sleeves,” she said. “This will get us closer to doing that.”
During the most recent development season, duo sold 30 drama scripts to both broadcast and cable webs; five pilots were produced.
Before she was drama co-topper, Stokdyk worked in current programming for CTTV. She was involved in series such as “Party of Five” and “Cupid.” She was VP of production for Trilogy Entertainment before coming to CTTV in 1997.
Gwartz was based at ABC Entertainment before CTTV, serving as exec director of drama series for the Alphabet from 1998-99. She had previously worked in features as senior VP of production for Silver Pictures, where she contributed to projects such as “Lethal Weapon 4” and “Tales From the Crypt.”