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Jun 25, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Greenblatt Named Showtime Entertainment President

Robert Greenblatt, executive producer of HBO’s “Six Feet Under” and a principal in the Greenblatt Janollari Studio, has been named president of entertainment at Showtime Networks.

He succeeds Jerry Offsay, who earlier this year announced his intention to retire from the premium-pay network and will now segue into his production deal. Mr. Offsay held the title of president, programming.

While Mr. Greenblatt’s title will be different, his areas of responsibility and oversight will be same as Mr. Offsay’s. In fact, the title change simply reflects Mr. Greenblatt’s expressed preference, Matthew Blank, chairman and CEO, Showtime Networks, told TelevisionWeek in a brief phone interview.

With Mr. Greenblatt, Showtime doesn’t simply gain a well-regarded executive in the Hollywood creative community, it also takes his services away from HBO, the competition. “We’re taking him away from a lot of the competition,” Mr. Blank said. “He’s a great hire. … Everybody in town told me I couldn’t get him.”

Mr. Greenblatt will step down from his position as a principal at Greenblatt Janollari to take the Showtime post, Mr. Blank said, though Mr. Greenblatt will retain any stakes he may have had with shows developed under his tenure at the studio. If HBO’s critically lauded “Six Feet Under” continues beyond another season, Mr. Greenblatt will no longer be listed as the show’s executive producer, though he may take another credit such as “developed by,” Mr. Blank said.

Mr. Greenblatt was originally offered the position several months ago and turned it down, according to Mr. Blank. Though there wasn’t any single one thing that closed the deal-and Mr. Greenblatt “thought about it and thought about it in the ensuing months”-the opportunity to “do content that you couldn’t do elsewhere and do subject matter that you couldn’t do elsewhere and to program to a very sophisticated audience” eventually won him over, Mr. Blank said.

The first Showtime scripted series with a Greenblatt stamp will not reach Showtime viewers until “well into next year,” though an unscripted series from Mr. Greenblatt may turn up sooner, Mr. Blank said, adding that there are still current pilots in contention that could get a green light from Mr. Greenblatt. He declined to describe those pilots.

Mr. Greenblatt will join the network on July 14 and will be based in Los Angeles. Mr. Blank declined to specify a length for Mr. Greenblatt’s contract.

Prior to forming Greenblatt Janollari Studio, Mr. Greenblatt had an eight-year tenure at Fox Broadcasting, where he was involved in developing such series as “The X-Files,” “Ally McBeal,” “Party Of Five,” “Melrose Place,” “King Of The Hill” and “Beverly Hills, 90210.” In addition, he was involved in the development of such other high-profile series as HBO’s “The Sopranos,” WB’s “Dawson’s Creek” and Sci Fi’s “Farscape.” In addition to “Six Feet Under,” Greenblatt Janollari shows have included ABC’s “The Hughleys” and PBS’s “American Family.”

Seligman to Produce Primetime Emmy Awards: Michael Seligman has signed on for another stint as supervising producer of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences 55th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. It will be Mr. Seligman’s 15th Emmy Awards show. The Awards will be broadcast Sunday, Sept. 21, on Fox from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. Don Mischer will executive produce the show.Murphy Named UPN Senior VP of Development: Maggie Murphy has been named senior VP of drama development at UPN. She comes to the network from Regency Television, where she was senior VP of drama programming. Ms. Murphy, who will report to UPN Entertainment President Dawn Ostroff, starts at the network July 1. She replaces Sonja Dosti, who left the network.

UPN Orders More ‘Model’: UPN ordered a second edition of its summer reality series “America’s Next Top Model.” Supermodel Tyra Banks will return to host the show and judge the competition along with a panel of experts.

UPN ordered 10 episodes of the series, which follows the lives of 12 women as they compete to win a modeling contract. “Model” has delivered double-digit and triple-digit growth in its time period (Tuesdays at 9 p.m.) since it began and has given the network its highest series ratings ever in the time period among women 18 to 34.

The second “Model” was ordered for midseason, but since the network has already started casting for it and the turnaround for reality shows is much quicker than scripted series, it most likely would be ready by late fall.

Lifetime Promotes Haskins, Picard: Well-known cable executives Rick Haskins and Lynn Picard have been promoted to newly created senior positions at Lifetime.

Mr. Haskins was promoted to executive VP and general manager of Lifetime Entertainment Services. Ms. Lynn Picard was named executive VP and general manager, Lifetime Television Network.

Both Mr. Haskins and Ms. Picard will continue to report to Carole Black, president and CEO, Lifetime Entertainment Services.

“It just makes sense to have one person going horizontally across the company and one person going vertically,” Ms. Black told TelevisionWeek, referring to Mr. Haskins and Ms. Picard, respectively. “Lynn and Rick are both macro and micro, which is what’s so great about them. She has been in every meeting, all of our strategic meetings, since I got here, and so has Rick. They know the plan, they know where we’re going, they work extraordinarily well together.”

Mr. Haskins, formerly executive VP, Lifetime brand, will oversee the day-to-day operations of Lifetime Entertainment Services and will remain directly responsible for the company’s branding, marketing, online and brand extensions.

Ms. Picard, formerly executive VP, sales, will supervise the day-to-day operations of Lifetime Television Network and will continue to be responsible for all advertising sales for Lifetime Entertainment Services. She also heads the new cross-platform unit, Lifetime Partnerships.

‘Last Comic Standing’ Scores Big for NBC: NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” was the highest-rated show of the night Tuesday in adults 18 to 49 with a 3.7 rating/11 share, according to Nielsen Media Research fast affiliate data. “Comic” combined with “Dog Eat Dog” and “Dateline” gave NBC a nightly win in the demo with a 3.3/10. Fox’s “American Juniors” just edged out “Dog” to win the 8 p.m.-to-9 p.m. hour with a 3.2/11 to “Dog’s” 3.1/11. “Dateline” won the 10 p.m. hour with a 3.1/9.

For the night, NBC won in adults 18 to 49 with a 3.3/10, followed by Fox (2.6/9), ABC (2.6/8) and CBS (1.5/5). In total viewers, NBC won the night with 8.1 million, followed by ABC (7.1 million), Fox (6.6 million) and CBS (6.3 million).

Cojocaru to ‘ET’: Steven Cojocaru, of “Today Show” and People magazine fame, has been tapped by Paramount for a spot on newsmagazine leader “Entertainment Tonight” and has inked a deal with the distributor to develop a series down the road.

“This hire is an illustration of how ‘Entertainment Tonight’ is always looking to grow,” said Terry Wood, executive VP of programming at Paramount Domestic Television. “We continue to show our commitment to the stations and are never going to stop looking for ways to enhance what we put on the air.”

Mr. Wood will serve as correspondent for “ET,” likely beginning in August. He will continue to work on air on “Today” and to write his column for People. His development deal for a series will be designed to play to his strengths as Paramount looks for new series in future seasons.

“Steve says what’s on his mind and is a premier star watcher who is adored by A-list stars,” said Linda Bell Blue, executive producer of “ET.” “As a veteran of the red carpet, he is able to get inside information because stars trust him, and we look forward to seeing him on a different level.”

Mr. Cojocaru also served as style correspondent for “Access Hollywood.”