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Leslie Morgenstein: Booking shows for teens

Youth Impact Report 2010: Channeling Talent

“Gossip Girl,” “The Vampire Diaries” and “Pretty Little Liars.” Before they became hit teen shows, they were books developed under the guidance of Leslie Morgenstein, CEO of Alloy Entertainment.

Morgenstein — who also shepherded “Privileged” (the CW), “Samurai Girl” (ABC Family) and feature franchise “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” (Warners) — may have a great track record with young audiences, but he doesn’t pretend to read their minds.

Instead, he credits Alloy’s development team — “an amazing group of young women who are much closer to the demo than I am and very much in touch with the audience,” Morgenstein says. “Where I add my value is helping to shape those ideas, helping to think about how is that an entertainment franchise, how is that going to distinguish it from the clutter.”

And while Alloy has had the greatest success reaching teenagers and women in their early 20s, the company is looking to young male audiences as well with such titles as “Roswell,” “All the Way” and “The Robot” (which is being developed as a feature).

In the event that a property doesn’t click at first, Morgenstein believes in multiple tries to get it right. “As long as you have a great idea and great execution, you will overcome challenges and find your audience,” he says. ” ‘Gossip Girl’ is a good example of that. The third time around was at the CW, and we finally got the execution right. Or the ‘Vampire Diaries’ book series. It (was first published) in 1991, and the show just premiered last fall. It was one of my first pieces of development,” he explains.

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