After nearly three years out of spotlight, former ABC Entertainment chief Stephen McPherson is quietly returning to TV biz thanks to a production pact with Lionsgate TV and development commitments at Fox Broadcasting Co.
The Lionsgate deal is a two-year first-look arrangement that calls for him to develop scripted and unscripted projects for the studio. At Fox, McPherson has commitments to field at least three projects, which was an attractive proposition to Lionsgate, though McPherson will also develop for a range of other outlets.
“We rely on our producers to serve as an entrepreneurial extension of our executive ranks,” Lionsgate TV prexy Kevin Beggs said. “We recognize the value of working with someone who has developed many hits and has long relationships. Steve is taking the vast knowledge he has from his executive experience to develop things that he’s passionate about.”
Booze and babies have been the focus of McPherson’s professional life since his decade-long tenure at Disney-ABC ended in July 2010 amid conflicts with his Mouse House bosses.
McPherson started an artisan wine label, Promise, in partnership with Prospect Park topper (and longtime vintner) Rich Frank. He and two partners also spearheaded the launch of Stillhouse, a company that markets a whiskey dubbed the Original Moonshine, which is distilled on a farm in Culpepper, Va. by master moonshine-maker Chuck Miller.
More recently, McPherson became a strategic adviser to BabyFirst TV, the Comcast-backed channel aimed at infants, toddlers and their parents. He’s also in the midst of launching a fitness supplement, Pur Pak, developed with trainers Bernard and Gina Baski as a result of his own training for triathlons.
As much as he’s enjoyed being in entrepreneur mode and spending time with his wife and two young daughters, McPherson said he missed being in the trenches of the creative community. After the humbling experience of launching a few businesses from scratch, he’s ready to take on the hard work of trying to get a show or two off the ground.
“I’m very grateful to Kevin, Jon (Feltheimer) and everyone at Lionsgate for supporting my new venture and look forward to a great partnership,” McPherson said.