Regency TV closing after ten years

Shingle had hits with 'Malcolm', 'Bernie Mac'

Regency TV is closing up shop after a 10-year run.

Decision to shutter the shingle comes a month after Regency TV topper Robin Schwartz ankled to become president of Oprah Winfrey’s new OWN cabler. Rumblings over the fate of the mini studio — including talk over whether it would even continue to exist at all — had already started at that point (Daily Variety, June 19).

Staffers, including senior VP Stephanie Levine and VP Andrea Shay, were informed of the decision on Thursday evening. Regency consisted of just five employees at this point; details of their departure are still being worked out.

Regency TV had been jointly operated by Arnon Milchan’s Regency Enterprises and Fox Television Studios, both of which held a 50% stake in the company. But both partners had reason to move on.

Fox TV Studios continues to develop much original fare under programming exec David Madden, while FTVS topper Emiliano Calemzuk has moved its focus more toward the international arena.

Over at Regency, the decision to reassess the company’s involvement in the TV biz comes following changes at the top of New Regency. In May Hutch Parker joined New Regency as chairman alongside Bob Harper, who joined the company last year; insiders said the execs closely examined the business model and decided it no longer made sense to be in the TV world.

Regency TV launched in 1998 under prexy Gail Berman and quickly hit the bigtime with hits such as “Malcolm in the Middle.”

Peter Aronson took over as prexy in 2000 after Berman left to run Fox Entertainment, while Schwartz filled Aronson’s chair when he departed to exec produce “The Bernie Mac Show” in 2004.

“Bernie Mac” was another of Regency’s hits. But the studio has had a tougher go of things lately, with its two new series last year, “New Amsterdam” and “The Return of Jezebel James,” failing to catch on with viewers. (“New Amsterdam” did manage to score an Emmy nomination Thursday for main title design.)

Regency TV still had a handful of projects in development; the fate of those projects is still being evaluated.

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