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WB recasts casting

Exex go indie; pay drawn from series budgets

Warner Bros. TV has downsized its casting department, opting to hire independent casting directors to work on its primetime series.

As a result, about half a dozen former Warner Bros. TV casting execs will no longer be on the studio payroll, but instead will join the staffs of the individual shows they already cast.

Series exec producers have an added expense, however, as the cost of employing those independent casting directors will now be taken out of their budgets.

Studio stressed that the reorganization left no one out of work, with the majority absorbed by their shows. Vet casting exec John Levy, for example, has serviced John Wells’ “ER” and “Third Watch” for years and will now work full-time for Wells’ production company.

Buck stops here

Restructuring has been in the works since Mary Buck joined the company as senior VP of casting last year.

Buck continues to lead the smaller department, which also includes VPs Anthony Sepulveda and Wendi Matthews (who joins the studio). Buck said the streamlining was necessary in the wake of Warner Bros.’ record primetime series tally this fall.

“With the volume of shows our division is producing, we had to find a more efficient way to do business,” Buck said. “I’m delighted to have Tony and Wendi on staff to help supervise casting on all of our projects, including upcoming development. They are accomplished executives, with terrific instincts and stellar relationships in the industry.”

As the indie directors focus on their current series, Buck, Sepulveda and Matthews will focus particularly on talent deals, development and big castings.

Sepulveda was nominated last week for outstanding casting on “The West Wing,” his second nom for the show. He was also nommed for Warner Bros. TV’s telepic “Fail Safe.”

Sepulveda, who’s been with Warner Bros. TV for 15 years, has also cast “The Drew Carey Show,” “Friends,” “Family Matters” and “Knots Landing,” among other shows.

Matthews, meanwhile, previously cast for Fox, Greenblatt-Janollari, Harbin/Hymson Casting and others. Credits include “24,” “Ally McBeal,” “In Living Color,” “The X-Files” and “Beverly Hills, 90210.”

Also joining the casting department are managers Tony Birkley and Lisa Loia.

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