News Briefs: TNT’s Wright to Add TBS Programming

Oct 3, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Michael Wright, senior VP of original programming for TNT, is expected to be given oversight of original programming at sister Turner Network TBS this week. At TNT, Mr. Wright oversaw the ratings record-setting launches of series “The Closer” and “Wanted” as well as movies and miniseries including “Into the West.” TBS has been thriving with off-network sitcoms but has not hit it big with its originals such as “Minding the Store” and “The Real Gilligan’s Island.” Christy Kreisberg, VP of original programming at TBS, will report to Mr. Wright and continue to develop shows for the network. Previously, Ms. Kreisberg reported to Ken Schwab, senior VP of programming at TBS and TNT. Mr. Schwab will continue to oversee all non-original programming and scheduling at TBS and TNT.

John Maatta Named COO of The WB

The WB promoted John Maatta to chief operating officer last week, making him the third-highest-ranking executive at the network. Mr. Maatta, who was the first employee at The WB, most recently served as The WB’s executive VP and general counsel, with legal and human resources reporting to him. In addition to being the network’s general counsel, Mr. Maatta will have the network’s business and operations departments reporting to him, including business affairs, finance, network distribution- including The WB 100+ Station Group-technology, legal, research, network operations, broadcast standards and human resources. He reports to Garth Ancier, chairman of The WB. Mr. Maatta takes on many of the responsibilities previously handled by Jed Petrick, who resigned as president-COO last year.

Agencies Sue Paramount Over ‘Frasier’ Profits

Two Hollywood talent agencies have filed suit against Paramount Pictures Corp., accusing the production company of misrepresenting how much net profit it made from the long-running television comedy “Frasier.” The Jim Preminger Agency and the Kaplan Stahler Gumer Braun Agency, which filed suit last Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, accused Paramount in court documents of inaccurately calculating “Frasier’s” network license fees and net profits and refusing to provide documents that would substantiate exactly how much each agency was owed. The suit seeks an amount claimed to be due to the agencies under the profit agreement and financial damages. The two agencies, along with the Broder Kurland Webb Uffner Agency, packaged “Frasier,” according to the written complaint. The suit alleges Paramount has collected “well over one and one-half billion dollars in gross revenue” for the show, but under the definition of “net profits,” the company argues “Frasier” lost more than $200 million. Neither agency could be reached for comment. A spokesman for Paramount said the company does not comment on pending litigation.

USA Orders Third Season of ‘The 4400’

USA Network has renewed “The 4400” for a third season, the network confirmed last week. The alien abduction drama will return next year for an additional 13 episodes. Ratings for “The 4400” are down this season (30 percent among adults 25 to 54, according to Nielsen Media Research), but its 2004 debut was considered tough to match. The first season was presented as a special-event six-episode limited series and was the all-time highest-rated scripted cable series debut. Though this season hasn’t fared as well, among scripted cable series it is bested only by FX’s “Nip/Tuck” among adults 18 to 49.

WGA-W Replaces Executive Director

The Writers Guild of America-West has fired executive director John McLean and appointed David Young, the guild’s top campaign organizer, as interim executive director. The change comes in the wake of Patric Verrone’s election to president of the guild last week. Mr. Young has led the guild’s campaign to organize reality TV writers.