Former Universal TV programming prexy Sarah Timberman has set up shop at Warner Bros. TV, where she officially hangs her production shingle today.
Timberman has also recruited Universal drama chief Carl Beverly to help launch 25C Prods., which she said will run the development gamut, from comedy and drama to even non-scripted fare.
First up, Timberman, Beverly (who’ll serve as head of creative affairs) and company will likely work on projects with scribe-exec producer Ed Redlich (“Without a Trace”), who also happens to be Timberman’s husband.
“I love that I’ll be on the same lot as my husband,” Timberman said. “Carl and I are counting on some of his brilliance rubbing off at the company. We will continue to have separate deals at the studio, but the intention on all sides is for us to come up with some projects together.”
Timberman, who climbed aboard Universal TV in June 2001 (back when it was still Studios USA), joins a growing number of suits who have turned in their executive washroom keys for a shot at launching their own production pod.
“It’s a chance to be that much more intimately involved with your projects and stay with those projects,” Timberman said. “That’s the whole reason for someone like me to do this work to begin with. I like a lot of the administrative stuff that comes with being an exec, but what I really like is the creative work.”
Former execs including Eric Tannenbaum and Tony Krantz have also found a home at Warner Bros. TV, where studio topper Peter Roth has actively pursued a wide variety of so-called pod deals.
“This one was easy for us,” Roth said of the Timberman’s 25C Prods. accord. “I’ve often referred to Sarah as one of my favorite competitors. She works extremely hard, she loves the medium, she loves the process.”
Roth compared the size and scope of 25C Prods. to the pod set up at Warner Bros. by Eric and Kim Tannenbaum.
A whole little world
“As we continue to grow our company, we want to be in business with the best in the business,” Roth said. “What each of these individuals bring are their personal relationships. Each small company brings in their own brand, the writers, directors and actors that are different from the roster that already exists at Warner Bros.”
Timberman says there are no hard feelings at Universal, but that the studio just isn’t making these kind of deals right now. While at U, Timberman developed new fare such as ABC’s upcoming frosh “Karen Sisco” and oversaw production on existing product like the studio’s massive Dick Wolf “Law & Order” franchise.
“Had I wanted to keep going as an executive, obviously Universal would have been the place,” she said. “I’m going to be rooting for their success from next door.”
‘Beloved’ at U
Universal TV Group prexy David Kissinger — unintentionally making a pun — said Timberman was “universally beloved” at the studio. It’s unclear how and when U will fill its two vacant slots, but Kissinger said he’s been speaking with a variety of candidates.
“I have no preconceived notions about the structure of the company. There are certainly a lot of different ways of organizing the studio,” he said. “All I’m interested in is getting the best people.”
It’s unfortunate timing for Universal, which is in the midst of a potential sale. But on the plus side, a new programming topper will join the studio in time for the start of development season.
“I’m not concerned that the company will lose any momentum or skip a beat,” Kissinger said. “The timing of these things is never ideal. But this is occurring as convenient a time as can be imagined in terms of the development cycle.”
8 years at Col TriStar
Prior to U, Timberman spent eight years at Columbia TriStar Television, working her way up to exec VP of series development. Her Col experience included working on series such as “Dawson’s Creek” and “Family Law.”
Beverly, meanwhile, joined Universal in October 2001 and had most recently served as senior VP of drama programming. He also spent time at Artists Television Group (as VP of development and current programming) and at Sony, where he started his career working for former Col TriStar TV chief Jon Feltheimer.
“Another key factor to do this was the chance to have Carl join me,” Timberman said. “He’s a huge emerging star. We’ve been good friends since our Sony days together.”
Timberman decided to name her company 25C Prods. after a two-lane rural highway that leads to the Walt Whitman summer camp in New Hampshire. It was there that Timberman and Redlich first met while still in their teens.