Future TV titans

Hollywood's New Leaders 2011: Television

Terence Carter | Sharalynn Cornwall | Ben Davis | Joe Hipps | Kelly Luegenbiehl | Andy Weil & Andrew Mittman

Terence Carter
Senior vice president, drama development {Fox Broadcasting Co.}
Currently the network’s youngest senior vice president, Carter is a rising star thanks to his key role in developing two high-profile dramas: Steven Spielberg’s “Terra Nova” and J.J. Abrams’ “Alcatraz.” Before that, he helped steer, with entertainment president Kevin Reilly, the first season of the hit series “Glee.” Appropriately enough, it was while the Washington, D.C., native was running an inner-city dance program at college that he realized his future lay in the entertainment business. “It was so rewarding and fulfilling,” says Carter, 32, who initially tried talent management and film production before finding his sweet spot in TV, “first at comedy, then drama.” His mantra? “Work hard, play hard — and it’s so important to find that work-life balance,” says Carter, who loves to travel and who also devotes a lot of his spare time to community service. “You need some perspective in this crazy business.”

Sharalynn Cornwall
VP, production {A. Smith & Co.}
Cornwall, 30, is a woman of many interests, which she uses to her advantage as she juggles a diverse group of TV shows at A. Smith & Co. Productions. Her projects include “UFC Countdown,” BET’s “American Gangster” and her favorite, NAACP Image Award-winning “Unsung,” about music’s one-hit wonders. “I don’t know how many people can say that they’ve been so lucky so early in their career,” she says. Cornwall credits her success to her mentor and boss Frank Sinton, COO of A. Smith & Co., whom she followed from Asylum Entertainment, where she was his assistant. She hopes her career continues on the same path, “where work doesn’t feel like work,” she says. But when life and work hit a bump, Cornwall recites her mantra, which, like a true Bruin, she borrowed from legendary UCLA coach John Wooden: “Things turn out best for people who make the best out of the way things turn out.”

Ben Davis
VP, scripted programming {AMC}
Joining AMC seven years ago, Davis quickly became a key member of the team blazing the trail for the cabler’s scripted programming push that developed acclaimed award-winning series including “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad.” Having also helped develop the pilots for “The Walking Dead” and “The Killing,” Davis, 31, is currently managing the second seasons of both shows while still working on “Breaking Bad” and constantly looking to develop “the next big unique idea.” The energetic, movie-loving executive credits AMC’s “free, creative environment” and good timing for his successes. “My mantra is, never settle and always make sure to take chances and take big swings,” says Davis, who says he always knew what he wanted to do. “I’m incredibly passionate about my work, and I also know I’m one of the luckiest guys in this business, as I’ve ended up in the perfect environment here, where they really encourage risk-taking.”

Joe Hipps
VP, production {Media Rights Capital Television}
Television executive Hipps, 34, is clear on what it takes to succeed when putting together great shows. “I try to find the best talent out there and put them in a position to do great work,” Hipps says. “You have to remember it’s not about you; it’s about giving the talent the room to do their work.” It’s clearly a philosophy that’s produced results. Hipps has worked with Ricky Gervais, Larry Charles and Mike Judge. He was a key part of the group that made the recent head-turning 26-episode deal with Netflix for the upcoming series “House of Cards,” a political thriller that will be executive-produced by David Fincher and Eric Roth, adapted by Beau Willimon and star Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright. “It’s a real privilege to work with such amazing people on this kind of material,” Hipps says.

Kelly Luegenbiehl
VP, comedy development {ABC Network}
“It definitely helps to have a good sense of humor in this job, and I love to laugh — it’s such an important part of life,” says the 33-year-old Indiana native who developed the Hoosier-set “The Middle” (now in its third season), along with frosh series “Suburgatory,” “Last Man Standing” and “Work It.” “Plus we have a great team here, so work is such fun.” Prior to joining ABC in 2006, Luegenbiehl, who began as a page at NBC, worked for Bravo where she developed “Millionaire Matchmaker,” “Flipping Out” and Kathy Griffin’s “My Life on the D-List.” “I’ve done reality and drama, but there’s a real resurgence in comedy now, so it’s a great time to be in this world,” says the executive, who loves to travel and who lived in Nagoya, Japan, for a more than a year. “I can still read and speak Japanese — it was a very formative experience.”

Andy Weil & Andrew Mittman
Head of scripted television {BermanBraun}
Head of feature film {BermanBraun}

Working at Paramount by day, studying as a film student at USC by night, Weil spent his college graduate years completely immersed in the movie industry. Despite his experience in film, however, when he started working at BermanBraun he realized he belonged in television. “I wish I’d worked in TV earlier because I think it’s a really creative medium,” says Weil, 27. Now the head of scripted television at the company, where he received an executive title at age 23, Weil has steered “Alphas” on Syfy through a four-year development, supervised “The Cape” for NBC and is supervising the “Modern Love” pilot, based on the New York Times column, for Lifetime.
Boston-born Mittman, 28, says he was “always an excessive cinephile as a kid.” He drew on that passion to help jumpstart BermanBraun’s film division. Mittman serves as head of features at the company, where he set up “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus” and finalized the remake rights to “The Boys From Brazil.” Though his specialty is film, he’s also involved in the television division where he, too, helped supervise the first season of “Alphas.” “I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to dip a toe into television production,” Mittman says. “I’ve found that, unlike features, the medium offers the unique opportunity to explore characters more intimately, over the length of an entire seaso
n, and that’s been very creatively fulfilling.”