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Levin Sets Up With MTV

Feb 27, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Jordan Levin, former CEO of The WB network, is leading several industry executives in a new production and management company that aims to develop platform-agnostic content for networks, broadband and mobile phones.

The new company, Generate, will hit the ground running with a multiyear MTV Networks deal to develop new youth-market programming.

The deal gives MTVN the exclusive basic cable rights to any idea developed by the company, with Generate able to take ideas to broadcast and premium networks if MTV passes.

“The scope of MTV Networks covers the demographic we want to reach,” Mr. Levin said. “While the deal is not all encompassing, they’re a really strong strategic partner that envision the future the same way we do.”

The Santa Monica, Calif.-based company is filled out by former Regency Television president Pete Aronson, who will oversee television projects; producer Mike Karz (“Malibu’s Most Wanted,” “First Daughter”), who will run the company’s cinema efforts; and talent managers Dave Rath and Kara Welker.

Mr. Rath and Ms. Welker will run Generate Management, which will operate as a separate company. The duo currently produces several MTVN shows, such as MTV’s “Wonder Showzen” and “The Andy Milonakis Show” and Comedy Central’s “The Comedians of Comedy.”

The company is privately funded, though Mr. Levin and his colleagues are seeking outside investors.

Generate is one the first major production companies launched since ABC’s content agreement with iTunes last October exploded the concept of multiplatforming to new deal-making heights. Since then, there has been a barrage of announcements from networks touting new media distribution agreements, with MTVN being particularly aggressive.

Just last week, MTVN’s Comedy Central announced a new animated series voiced by adult film star Jenna Jameson-“Samurai Love God”-that would be distributed exclusively by mobile carriers.

Mr. Levin said the new media wave prompted Generate to emphasize multiplatform development.

“We’re focusing first and foremost on developing the content, and then determining which platform best serves the content,” Mr. Levin said. “The power of idea becomes paramount. The idea is going to dictate the audience, which will dictate the platform.”

As an example, Mr. Levin pointed to the “The Andy Milonakis Show,” which started as an Internet phenomenon before migrating to MTV.

“We think there’s a lot of ideas that will need incubating, that have a tighter focus and point of view,” Mr. Levin said.

Some content deals have already been made with MTVN, he said, but declined to cite specifics.