Par to close Big Ticket

Lyttle exit leads studio to absorb prod'n co.

HOLLYWOOD — Paramount has pinkslipped Big Ticket TV.

The production shingle, responsible for skeins such as syndicated megahit “Judge Judy” and UPN laffer “The Parkers,” will be folded into the mother ship in the coming months.

Concurrently, Big Ticket founder-president Larry Lyttle, who had a year left on his deal, has opted to leave the company.

Lyttle said Big Ticket will wind down operations in the next three to four months, probably shuttering by October. The company’s syndie shows (“Judy,” “Judge Joe Brown”) will move under Paramount Domestic TV, while Paramount Network TV will take over primetime skeins “The Parkers,” CBS’ “Hack” and the WB’s “Jamie Kennedy Experiment.”

Viacom Entertainment Group chairman Jonathan Dolgen and Paramount TV Production prexy Garry Hart said the decision to shutter Big Ticket came after Lyttle decided to call it quits — but that the studio had also been looking at new ways to streamline its operations.

It made sense to announce the closing of Big Ticket now, before the new development season began, Lyttle said.

Still unclear is the fate of Big Ticket’s 35 employees. Some of the production company’s staff likely will move to Paramount, while others have job offers elsewhere, Lyttle said.

“Because this has been so amicable, Paramount really emphasized to me that they’ll be taking care of everyone here,” he said. “I leave with a great sense of satisfaction, although I’m sad that the company is not going on without me.”

Lyttle originally launched Big Ticket as a sitcom-centric subsidiary of Spelling TV in October 1994. (The shingle’s name was a play on the logo for Spelling’s then-parent, Blockbuster.)

Viacom later bought Blockbuster, including Spelling/Big Ticket, and Par took on oversight of Big Ticket last year after the departure of Paramount TV Group topper Kerry McCluggage prompted a round of corporate restructuring.

Beyond the company’s current crop of shows, Big Ticket also was responsible for long-running skeins such as UPN’s “Moesha.”

“We applaud and congratulate Larry for shepherding such a prolific and financially successful company,” Dolgen said. “He has been a very valuable part of Paramount and Viacom. Larry has also been both a great friend and a great colleague and has contributed to our success in a significant way.”

After nine years running Big Ticket — and a 25-year-career as a seller that included stints running Spelling TV and developing for Warner Bros. TV — Lyttle said he was looking forward to a break.

“I want a third act to my career,” he said. “It was inevitable that I wanted to do something else.”

Lyttle said the recent deaths of two close friends gave him the impetus to take stock of his life. The exec said he hadn’t yet determined his next leap –but it won’t be as a producer.

The exec said he wouldn’t rule out political consulting as a future career.

“I’ve sold TV shows for 25 years. At a certain point and time you say, you’ve done it,” he said.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Elite Season 2

    San Sebastian: Spain’s SVOD Players Debate Competition, Brand, Talent

    SAN SEBASTIAN  — Executives from HBO, Netflix, Amazon and Movistar+ and “Elite” co-creator Darío Madrona took to the stage to field questions on the Global Impact of Spanish Series. Here, briefly, are five takeaways: 1.Spain First “La Casa de Papel” was watched by 34,355,956 Netflix accounts over its first seven days,  after a July 19 [...]

  • Samsung Makes Bid to Keep Viewers

    Samsung Makes Bid to Keep Viewers From Skipping Fox Ad Breaks

    Fox is hoping to knit together the seconds-long divide between a TV program and the commercials that support it. During ad breaks for a few football broadcasts, tomorrow’s run of the Emmys and Wednesday’s season premiere of “The Masked Singer,” the network will kick off ad sessions with special show promos that display artistic renderings [...]

  • Patria

    HBO Europe Unveils ‘Patria’ Footage to Captive San Sebastian Audience

    SAN SEBASTIAN — Amid large expectation, HBO Europe has revealed first footage giving a first sense of tone and pace of its Spanish original series “Patria.” A packed-to-overflowing press conference on Saturday morning at the San Sebastian Festival can be read as one sign of the potential popularity of the eight-part series. The panel sneak-peek [...]

  • Topic Studios

    Layoffs Hit Topic Studios as TV Division Relocates to West Coast (EXCLUSIVE)

    A small round of layoffs has hit Topic Studios this week in the television division, insiders familiar with the company told Variety. One of the insiders said three executives at the New York-based producer and distributor are out: senior vice president of scripted programming and Viacom alum Lisa Leingang, vice president of development Mona Panchal [...]

  • Peter Weber and Mike Johnson

    'The Bachelor's' Mike Johnson on Diversity and New Leading Man Peter Weber

    ABC named its newest star of “The Bachelor” this week, officially making Peter Weber the leading man for Season 24 of the long-running dating show. Social media backlash ensued following the announcement due to ABC’s selection lacking diversity, yet again. Since the dating franchise began in 2002, there has been only one “Bachelorette” of color [...]

  • ABC Studios Logo

    ABC Studios Head of Alternative Fernando Hernandez Exits

    ABC Studios’ head of alternative Fernando Hernandez has departed from his post at the Disney-owned television studio, a source familiar with the situation told Variety. The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news. Hernandez’s exit follows an executive shuffling at the top in recent months that has included the departure of Amy Hartwick, ABC Studio’s head [...]

  • Rob Cowan, Greg Silverman'The Conjuring 2'

    Greg Silverman’s Stampede, School of Rock Team for Unscripted Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    Former president of Warner Bros. Pictures Greg Silverman is partnering with School of Rock through his content creation company Stampede. The collaboration with the music school will create exclusive content, starting with the development of an unscripted series.  School of Rock operates a network of performance-based education franchises that offer students of all ages guidance [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content