Vet Russo serves Par series

Exec to handle studio's slate of ongoing network skeins

Longtime telepic exec Tom Russo has jumped to series television, taking on duties as senior vice president of current programming at Paramount Network TV.

Russo replaces Steve Stark, who jumped to Columbia TriStar Television last week as that studio’s new head of development (Daily Variety, May 22). Russo had served as senior vice president of longform programming at Paramount since 1994.

In his new gig, Russo will handle issues relating to the studio’s ongoing network series, such as “Frasier” and “Becker” and newcomers like “Philly.”

“Tom’s contributions to the network television division have been enormous over the past seven years,” said Par Network TV prexy Garry Hart. “Tom has great working relationships with the creative community, and his management capabilities make him the perfect choice for this job.”

A raft of telepics

Par has produced 69 telepics under Russo, including the Showtime projects “Strange Justice,” which won a Peabody Award; “Laughter on the 23rd Floor”; “The Day Regan Was Shot”; “The Defenders”; “Rescuers: Stories of Courage”; and “Club Land.”

Russo also supervised NBC’s “Growing Up Brady,” VH1’s “Meat Loaf: To Hell and Back” and ABC’s upcoming “Jesus and Judas.”

The studio has 15 made-fors currently rolling or already in the hopper for 2001. The division also has 60 projects in development at a diverse number of outlets, including TNT, USA and MTV.

Russo joined Paramount from MCA/Universal, where he last served as vice president of longform programming at MCA Television Entertainment. While at MCA, which he joined in 1985, Russo also served as director of longform at Universal Television and director of program development at MCA-TV Enterprises.

Russo’s credits also include tours of duty at Telerep, MMT Sales and Lorimar Prods.

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