Julie Weitz, a longtime lit agent at WME and a former top TNT programming exec, has joined Carol Mendelsohn’s production banner as prexy.
Weitz’s segue to the producing side comes as Mendelsohn’s banner is getting busy with multiple series projects. Mendelsohn in the upcoming season will be showrunner of the mothership “CSI,” as she has since been the show’s debut in 2000, and she’s exec producing the frosh CBS drama “The Defenders,” which hails from her CBS Television Studios-based shingle.
Weitz joins Mendelsohn just as development for the 2011-12 season is heating up. Mendelsohn said she has worked with Weitz on and off over the years and felt she would be a good partner in helping her juggle development and help shepherd projects through the maze of pilot season.
“We are just simpatico as people,” Mendelsohn said of Weitz. “She has great taste and is so knowledgeable” about the creative community and the TV biz in general, she added.
Once Mendelsohn got serious in talks with CBS TV Studios to set up her own banner, Weitz was on Mendelsohn’s wishlist of execs to help her run the venture but she didn’t think she would leave her perch at WME. But after more than six years with WME and Endeavor, Weitz was open to a new opportunity.
“Carol possesses that rare combination of talent, savvy and business acumen,” Weitz said. “I can’t wait to work alongside her.”
Mendelsohn will need a strong partner this season as she shuttles from the “CSI” set on the Universal lot to the “Defenders” set at CBS Radford, where her still-unnamed production company is based.
Among the new projects Mendelsohn is eyeing is an idea that she is working on with “CSI” creator Anthony Zuiker.
Weitz joined Endeavor as a TV lit agent in 2004. Before that she spent six years as exec veep of original programming at TNT, where she spearheaded development of original series and telepics during the period when the cabler first moved aggressively into original fare.
Earlier in her career, Weitz headed the longform TV lit department at ICM, and she worked in production as prexy of Von Zerneck-Sertner Films and as director of development for Hearst Entertainment.
Mendelsohn said she first clicked with Weitz years ago when they worked together on a ho-hum TV movie (so forgettable that neither of them can remember the title).
More recently they’ve interacted through their mutual talent agency.
“We both feel that together we can do great things and have a lot of fun,” Mendelsohn said. “We’re going to hit the ground running.”