Lights, camera, Frog: The WB is getting into the telepic biz.
Net has tapped former TBS longform exec Tana Nugent Jamieson to serve as senior VP of the newly created made-for unit. She’ll also consult on drama development, reporting to drama exec VP Carolyn Bernstein.
The WB has seen its Nielsen numbers spike when it has aired theatricals, leading Frog execs to figure there’s a market for homegrown feature product geared toward its target aud of viewers 12-34.
“Broadcast television has largely abandoned the longform genre to cable, particularly with content directed at younger viewers,” WB co-CEO Jordan Levin said. “We have had success with theatrical presentations and have decided that this would be a great time to expand into original production.”
Indeed, youth-friendly cablers such as MTV and ESPN have scored solid numbers by offering up a limited number of telepics each season. And while an exec at TBS, Jamieson helped develop “Red Water,” the highest-rated telepic in basic cable history.
Jamieson’s first task is overseeing production of the previously announced adaptation of the “American Girls” series (Daily Variety, Feb. 13, 2003). After that, she’ll look to develop a targeted slate of about four or five pics per year.
“It’ll be a mix (of genres),” she said. “We’ll do some biopics, some high-concept, very marketable concepts, a holiday project,” Jamieson said. “We’re also going to try to get our talent in to do some passion pieces.”
Jamieson said the WB’s license fees for telepics will be competitive for those offered by other broadcast and cable outlets. “We will compete with the networks on some of these movies,” she said.
Before TBS shuttered its telepic unit last year, Jamieson spent a bit more than five years at the cabler, where she was VP of movies.
She had previously been a producer, working on pics such as Peter Benchley’s “The Beast,” “Sweet Dreams” and “Friends Til The End.”