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Chris Grant, Reveille – Hot List 2007

Jul 15, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Title: Managing director and head of worldwide distribution, Reveille, and president, Reveille International
Date of birth: Oct. 18, 1978
Place of birth: New York City
Big break: Being promoted from assistant to joining Reveille’s international sales team
Who knew?? Mr. Grant’s grandfather was director of the New York City Opera. His dream of following in his grandfather’s footsteps was shattered after piano and saxophone lessons proved he was tone-deaf.
Chris Grant is habituated to a perpetual state of deal-making tension.
In the early hours of the morning, he wakes up to check his BlackBerry. He does this three or four times a night, without the aid of an alarm, checking his messages at 3 a.m. “to make sure nobody is freaking out in Thailand.”
It’s a level of performance that he attributes to his mentor, friend and former boss Ben Silverman.
“This is the way we work,” he said. “That’s the discipline Ben taught us.”
“Us” is Reveille, the blockbuster independent production company founded by Mr. Silverman, who has since ascended (though that characterization is sometimes debated) to take the reins of fourth-place network NBC.
Mr. Silverman retains ownership but not direct control of the company, which he has left in the hands of the current team, including Mr. Grant.
Mr. Grant is head of international distribution at Reveille, but just before he took office at NBC, Mr. Silverman promoted Mr. Grant to managing director, head of worldwide distribution and president of Reveille International.
In addition to his international distribution decisions, Mr. Grant is working on domestic issues. But he thinks making a distinction between domestic and international deal-making in 2007 is silly anyway.
“Everything we do is a global look,” he said. “Every show we have, we ask, where will it work in Australia? How will the format work in the U.K.?”
Unlike some executives who stumble into television, Mr. Grant was focused on the medium from a relatively young age. His father, Jeff Grant, was a TV producer. At 14 he spent his summer working for veteran producer Robert Halmi Jr., then spent every summer in high school and college working entertainment industry jobs.
“I always knew I wanted to do this,” he said.
After college he worked in the William Morris mailroom, eventually becoming an assistant to Mr. Silverman. When Mr. Silverman left Morris to launch his own company in 2002, Mr. Grant went along. Then, when Mr. Silverman decided to expand Reveille to sell products internationally, he tapped Mr. Grant for the team.
Mr. Grant remembers returning from his first trip to the Mip TV market with an envelope full of business cards. Instead of throwing the cards into a Rolodex, his team created a Reveille e-mail newsletter advising all potential clients on the latest company news.
“You would think distributors would be in contact with their clients on a regular basis, but they aren’t,” he said. “The newsletter keeps them informed and helped build the business.”
A little more than two years ago, Mr. Silverman expanded Mr. Grant’s territory further when he reworked the company’s production deal with NBC Universal to give Reveille more independence to buy and sell formats.
Since then, Reveille has not only sold its own shows overseas (such as NBC’s “The Biggest Loser,” USA Network’s “Nashville Star,” Bravo’s “Blow Out” and FX’s “30 Days”), but formats from other companies as well.
In recent weeks, Mr. Grant’s team sold Mark Burnett’s “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” to 47 countries — one more than ABC’s “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.”
Each deal brings its own special problems to the table, as each market is unique.
“What excites me are the possibilities,” Mr. Grant said, sounding very much like his mentor. “Within my job the possibilities are endless. We are responsible for bringing the world content.”

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