Silver raiding FX exec deck

Bocaccio new topper at small-screen shingle

FX programmer Gerard Bocaccio, who helped develop the cabler’s signature skein “The Shield,” is stepping into Joel Silver’s small-screen matrix.

Bocaccio has been tapped prexy of Warner Bros. TV-based Joel Silver Pictures Television. He’ll develop new series programming while overseeing the company’s current UPN critical darling, “Veronica Mars.”

In addition to hiring Bocaccio, Silver has also reupped his lucrative WBTV deal for two more seasons.

While Silver has had other execs in charge of his development, Bocaccio’s appointment marks the first time the prolific film producer has created a president’s title for his TV division. Move seems designed to signal Silver’s desire to ramp up his push into series development.

“I have a tremendous interest in television,” he said, adding that he hired Bocaccio in part because of his work at FX.

‘Muscular’ shows

“He’s worked on very muscular, aggressive programming,” Silver said. “I loved ‘The Shield,’ I love ‘Rescue Me.’ And I don’t know that those shows are on network television right now.”

Bocaccio — who’s stepping down from his post as senior VP of entertainment at FX — is “a smart guy who will work well with my group,” Silver added.

Silver’s guiding principle for TV production? “I’d like to do some television that I myself would like to watch,” he said, describing himself as a fan of skeins such as “24” and “Alias.”

He also said he wants to develop more “hip, cool” shows in the same vein as “Veronica Mars.”

Bocaccio, who began his career working at Warner Bros. TV in the 1980s, said he’s hoping to partner with Silver “to create television environment wherein artists are free to examine the stories they are passionate about.”

“He’s one of the few producers who can wield the concept of branding and back it up,” Bocaccio said. “The fact that he sees his television as integral to the expansion of his brand rather than a vanity play, speaks volumes to the opportunity he’s presented me with.”

Time for a change

Bocaccio said he had been considering leaving FX for a while, even before taking the Silver gig. “It’s just time to flex a different muscle,” he said.

While his title covered longform programming, Bocaccio said he’s “been involved in all the business here” since arriving at FX in July 2001.

Hired by former FX (and current NBC Entertainment) prexy Kevin Reilly, Bocaccio was part of the team that helped develop and launch “The Shield,” “Lucky” and most recently brought in upcoming one-hour “The Thief,” starring Andre Braugher as the head of a high-end robbery crew about to embark on a landmark heist. 

He also spearheaded the development of all of FX’s longform efforts including Jamie Foxx starrer “Redemption,” about real-life gang member turn children’s author Stan “Tookie” Williams, and the upcoming George Clooney-produced “Ten Commandments” project.

Other credits include the original movies “44 Minutes” and “The Pentagon Papers.”

Before coming to FX, Bocaccio was exec VP of production at Sid Sheinberg’s Bubble Factory for six years, and spent three years at Spelling Television, working on everything from “And the Band Played On” to sudser “Sunset Beach.”

FX declined comment on a potential Bocaccio replacement.

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