In Depth

Hot List: Greg Goldman

Executive VP of development and current, RDF USA

With 20 pickups in his company’s two-year history, RDF USA Executive VP of Development and Current Greg Goldman has overseen his firm’s transformation from a fledgling company with only one show to a full operation that produces, develops and manages product from around the world.

During his tenure at the company, Mr. Goldman has developed, sold and executive produced series including Fox’s “Don’t Forget the Lyrics” and “Secret Millionaire,” ABC’s “Dance Machine” and “Shaq’s Big Challenge,” Lifetime’s “How to Look Good Naked,” A&E’s “The Two Coreys” and Oxygen’s “Coolio’s Rules.”

“RDF was once known for doing just one type of show, factual entertainment, but we’ve recently made it a priority to spread our wings and broaden our portfolio, and we’ve been very successful in accomplishing that,” Mr. Goldman said. “The common thread, however, to all of our programs is that all of them are bright, shiny, happy shows. We’re not out to humiliate anybody; instead, we are out to showcase strong characters and strong stories.”

Chris Coelen, CEO of RDF USA, tapped Mr. Goldman for the position, shortly after Mr. Coelen himself was hired away from United Talent Agency to expand the North American presence of the U.K.-based RDF Media Group, RDF USA’s parent, and its rights management company, Pangea.

“Greg is a superstar. He’s amazingly creative and his taste is hugely commercial, but most important he’s fun and brings out the best in his team,” Mr. Coelen said.

Mr. Goldman’s background included a two-year run as executive director of alternative series and specials at ABC Entertainment, where he oversaw non-scripted prime-time development and production on series and specials including “Wife Swap,” “The Bachelor,” “The American Music Awards” and “American Inventor.”

“Being both a producer and an executive at ABC, I know what people are looking for, as well as what looks good, and why people buy what they buy,” said Mr. Goldman. “It’s not about how great a show can be on paper, it’s about having a great show on the air that audiences can enjoy over and over.”

Before joining ABC in 2004, Mr. Goldman was head of development and production for Renegade 83 Entertainment, producer of series such as “Blind Date,” run by partners and executive producers David Garfinkle and Jay Renfroe. At Renegade Goldman created, developed, sold and produced formats in prime-time network, cable and syndication.

“I was always fixated on non-scripted shows and grew up watching ‘The Real World,’” Mr. Goldman said. “Then when ‘Blind Date’ came on the air, I looked at it and thought it was revolutionary and groundbreaking and knew it was the kind of show people would be talking about. It was such a simple idea, so incredibly voyeuristic and exciting, and that’s the kind of thing that draws me to this business and makes me excited to be a part of it.”

Of course, the television industry wasn’t what he targeted in school. He entered college planning to become a doctor, attending medical school at the University of Pennsylvania.

“I grew up thinking I wanted to be a doctor, but I realized in school that I absolutely hated it,” Mr. Goldman said. “When you are doing something 24 hours a day that you are not in love with, you start to think, ‘What else would I do?’ As crazy as it sounds, I realized I wanted to develop and produce TV shows. I was literally dissecting a brain, also a metaphor for my life at the time, when it became clear to me that this was my passion. And I’ve never looked back.”