Original Prods. has restructured its management ranks after founder Thom Beers stepped into the CEO post at Original’s parent company, FremantleMedia North America.
Philip Segal and Jeff Conroy have been upped to CEO and prexy of Original Prods., respectively, and both will serve as exec producers on programming. Beers remains onboard at Original as chairman and narrator of Original’s shows.
Shingle is developing unscripted project “River Men” and an event competition show with feature film helmer Brett Ratner. While Beers has moved onto Fremantle, Segal emphasizes that he is still in the mix.
“Thom is very well aware of what’s going on with Original,” Segal told Variety. “We’ve always kept him appraised of what we’ve been doing, but Jeff and I have stepped up and filled in the gaps. Jeff and I have worked very closely together for the last seven years, so it was a very organic move for us.”
Conroy joined Original Prods. in 2001 and has served as veep of programming and exec veep of programming before his promotion to president. Segal came aboard the shingle in 2005 after working at Bunim-Murray Prods. and Tribune Entertainment. At Original Prods. he served as prexy before his appointment as CEO.
Segal said that in future landscape of Original Prods., the shingle will continue to focus on “working class shows.”
“We want to continue the tradition of blue collar craft. ‘River Men’ is a big one,” Segal said. “River Men” centers on the lives of men and women whose livelihood depends on the Mississippi river.
“We also are looking into scripted programming,” he said. “We meet amazing people whose journeys don’t always translate into reality shows because their lives don’t fit nicely into a production schedule, but may fit into another narrative.” Segal noted that he and Beers both have roots in scripted TV.
As for dangerous jobs that Original Prods. will feature next on the small screen, Segal remarked that “agriculture is one of the most dangerous jobs there is.”
“There are granary drownings and huge equipment. It’s important to tell the story about families who are bringing food to our tables,” Segal said.
The final frontier for Original Prods. may not be a rural setting with a dangerous occupation, however.
“Broadcast TV, it’s been elusive for us,” Segal stated. Original Prods. did send “America’s Toughest Jobs” to NBC, but the shingle’s biggest hits have been on Discovery, A&E, History and other cablers.
“We’ve spent so much time focusing on the cable space that we haven’t had time to focus on development for broadcast nets. We want to throw more resources at them,” he said.