Magna Brings on a Program Exec

Dec 6, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Media services agency Magna Global USA has hired a veteran TV programming executive based in Los Angeles as part of an expansion of the company’s entertainment programming activities.

Former CBS senior programming executive Sunta Izzicupo has been hired with the title of principal, prime-time programming, for Magna Global Entertainment, a division of media agency Magna Global USA. She’ll report to Bill Cella, chairman of Magna Global, which is a division of The Interpublic Group of Companies, based in New York.

Mr. Cella said Ms. Izzicupo’s hiring continues the company’s efforts to develop more TV productions for its advertisers. While Ms. Izzicupo will be based on the West Coast, Francis Page continues as executive VP of Magna Global Entertainment in New York.

Magna Global Entertainment has produced shows such as “Blow Out” on Bravo, the Emmy-award-winning movie “Door to Door” on TNT and NBC’s The Restaurant,” which had Mitsubishi Motors, American Express and Coors Brewing as product integration sponsors. The unit has also produced for TBS’s “House Rules,” presented by Lowe’s Home Improvement.

The team of Ms. Page and Ms. Izzicupo replaces Robert Riesenberg, who earlier this year left to be president/CEO of Full Circle Entertainment, a TV production operation housed at media agency OMD USA.

Launched in 2001 Magna Global negotiates the deals for advertising time buys on behalf of all the Interpublic entities, including Initiative Media Worldwide and Universal McCann Worldwide. Its annual media billings are estimated at more than $40 billion.

Ms. Izzicupo worked on more than 300 movies during six years at CBS, which she left in early 2002. She was the network’s senior VP of movies and miniseries. The “CBS Sunday Movie” had been in Nielsen’s top 15 for four of the last five seasons that Ms. Izzicupo was there. She shepherded titles such as “Joan of Arc,” “Mrs. Santa Clause” and “One Special Night.”

In addition to this effort, Interpublic, the ad agency holding company and parent of Magna Global, is consolidating many of its entertainment, sports and public relations divisions on the West Coast under one roof-in the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles. This includes West Coast entertainment public relations agencies Rogers & Cowan, PMK and Bragman Nyman Cafarelli as well as other agencies, such as event marketing unit Jack Morton Worldwide. However, it doesn’t include IPG sports and TV production divisions Octagon and Momentum Worldwide.

The expansion would be another in a series in which big media agencies are looking to establish West Coast TV programming operations-especially as TV advertisers’ interests in branded entertainment and product integration continue. Earlier this year MindShare USA hired former network executive Peter Tortorici as president of MindShare Entertainment, which produced last summer’s soap “The Days” for ABC.

Also earlier this year, French-based advertising holding company Havas’ media agency MPG hired two Advertising Age Editors, Richard Linnett and Hank Kim, as co-directors of MPG Entertainment to produced branded entertainment projects.