Giving 20th TV a Broader Reach

Aug 4, 2003  •  Post A Comment

The resurrection of Twentieth Television’s FoxLab is the kind of opportunity Daniel Tibbets has been waiting for his whole career.
As VP of production for the distributor, Mr. Tibbets has been charged with, among other responsibilities, oversight of a “brain trust” of producers designed to create and produce television programs with outside-the-box thinking, and the results could soon include Twentieth programs airing not only in syndication but on cable and network as well.
“FoxLab was never designed to be syndication-centric,” he said. “Instead we are looking at original ideas that can work anywhere in television, and that’s what makes this job so challenging.”
Hired away from Fireworks Television, Mr. Tibbets is now teamed at Twentieth with President of Production Robb Dalton for the fourth time; the two previously worked together at Pinnacle, CBS Enterprises and Fireworks.
The appointment of Daniel Tibbets as Twentieth Television’s VP of production was part of an overhaul in the company’s development and programming ranks, including the creation of FoxLab. That announcement was designed to highlight a new, more aggressive approach by the distributor to tackle programming for both syndication and cable.
“Daniel has a unique blend of production and executive skills that serves Twentieth in a variety of ways. … He oversees FoxLab, provides current production experience, is prolific as a developer and has an unrivaled work ethic,” Mr. Dalton said.
While Mr. Tibbets cites various scripted deals, such as the miniseries event “John Milius’ Rome” with HBO, among his career highlights, he is quick to note that developing reality is closer to his heart.
“With reality shows it’s much easier to remain hands-on in projects, and the turnaround time can be infinitely faster,” he said.
First out of the gate for the FoxLab was “Classmates,” a reality strip given a slow rollout by the syndicator. The series features storybook reunions from around the country. Mr. Tibbets notes that the idea for the series came when FoxLab producers saw that, with 35 million subscribers, the Classmates.com Web site has a bottomless pit of stories.
“To base a show on a Web site can be tricky, but it symbolizes exactly what’s good about running a group like this. The producers can find ideas for shows that other producers would have to shy away from,” Mr. Tibbets said. “They will need to tap deep into the imagination for original ideas and then must work to materialize those ideas into produceable, affordable television programs.”
Name: Daniel Tibbets
Date of Birth: July 9, 1969
Place of Birth: Middletown, Conn.
Big Break: Robb Dalton of Pinnacle Communications hired him to produce the reality special “Streetwise,” a co-production with KPNX-TV.
Who Knew? Mr. Tibbets grew up in a small farming town and had pet raccoons.