WBTV gets makeover

Vets tapped to lead studio's comedy, drama

Warner Bros. Television is playing musical chairs with its development toppers, tapping a pair of veteran execs to serve as head of comedy and drama development for the studio.

Leonard Goldstein, who’s been with WBTV since 1997, will take over as head of comedy development, serving as senior VP of the department.

Replacing Goldstein as drama topper is Susan Rovner, who has been promoted to senior VP of drama development. Rovner, a four-year WBTV vet, had served as Goldstein’s number two in the department.

Rovner and Goldstein will both report to WBTV exec VP of development Steve Pearlman.

Promotions come in the wake of last week’s news that WBTV comedy development chief Lowell Mate was stepping down to take a production deal with the studio (Daily Variety, May 23.)

“Len Goldstein and Susan Rovner are two of the most outstanding development execs I’ve ever worked with,” WBTV prexy Peter Roth told Daily Variety. “They’re both particularly good at bringing out the best in everyone they work with, which I think has been reflected in our successful development.”

Pearlman praised the duo for their “great taste in writers and material” as well as “their ability to find and nurture new talent.”

While Goldstein has made his mark in drama — helping develop hits such as the WB’s “Smallville” — Roth thinks Goldstein will have no problem shifting gears to laffers.

“The criterion for success (with development execs) is less the genre in which they work and more the individual abilities of that executive,” Roth said. “I think he’ll be as successful in comedy as he has been in drama.”

Roth also expressed his confidence in Rovner’s ability to move up to the top spot in drama.

“Susan has proven herself time and time again,” he said. “She’s extraordinarily sensitive to the creative team, the creative process and the creative mind.”

Before joining WBTV, Goldstein was director of development at the Kushner-Locke Co. Rovner had been exec director of telepics for ABC.