Diversity Name of LMNO’s Game

Nov 29, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Lifetime has ordered a pilot for a new show called “It’s About Time,” a comic-book-style look at how women can better organize their day, from LMNO Productions.

Though LMNO (Leave My Name Off) is best known for headline-making Fox Network reality fare such as “The Littlest Groom,” “Boot Camp” and “Man vs. Beast,” the pilot is an example of the sort of meat-and-potatoes content the Encino, Calif.-based company develops for a variety of cable networks. Among its cable series are TLC’s “Amazing Medical Stories,” “WinTuition” for GSN and “Babies: Special Delivery” for Discovery Health-which has just ordered a fifth season.

As LMNO celebrates its 15th anniversary this year President and CEO Eric Schotz said his company’s cable efforts are the result of an increasingly lucrative marketplace.

“What’s changed a lot in the cable world is [programmers] used to say, `Why don’t you pitch us what you pitch the networks?”‘ Mr. Schotz said. “The answer would be they can’t afford it. Now they’ve changed that. Pitch a network and they’ll buy six episodes, but cable networks will buy 25.”

LMNO has several Travel Channel specials in the works, including “Star Travel,” showcasing various types of celebrity travel accommodations, a special called “College Towns” and as-yet-untitled city profiles of Dallas and Phoenix.

LMNO is making an effort to maintain a diverse field of interest so that, as Mr. Schotz put it, “no single client can ding you.”

“The fact they are very diverse and have quite a range is appealing to us,” said Eileen O’Neill, senior VP and general manager of LMNO client Discovery Health Channel. “They can bring some style to the shows and have a range of producing resources they can tap into.”

For example, when President Clinton was hospitalized for coronary bypass surgery in September, Discovery Health Channel wanted a medical documentary on heart disease shot and delivered within two weeks to take advantage of sudden baby boomer interest in the subject.

LMNO dispatched a crew to Columbia University Medical Center to interview doctors and managed to catch the former president during one of his forays into the lobby. The result, “Silent Stalker: Heart Disease,” aired Oct. 2.

“From a creative point of view, the diversity allows a company to always stay fresh,” said Bill Paolantonio, executive VP for creative affairs for LMNO. “The fact we can produce a completely different program every night of the week is great.”