High Noon Makes Move to Next Level

Mar 29, 2009  •  Post A Comment

It’s high noon for High Noon.
Since its launch 12 years ago by former Liberty Media executive Jim Berger, High Noon Entertainment has emerged as a prolific producer of story- and character-driven service shows.
It has cranked out hundreds of hours of programming for networks such as HGTV, Food Network and Discovery and expanded beyond its Denver roots to open an office in Los Angeles.
But now the company is looking to make the leap to the next level, breaking into the highly competitive world of pop culture-driven reality shows for top-tier cable networks. First up: “Tough Love,” a collaboration with Drew Barrymore’s Flower Films that premiered a few weeks ago on VH1 and already is generating much online chatter.
To help with the added volume, Mr. Berger is promoting two executives and hiring a new VP of development. The company has to expand in order to survive long-term, he said.
“Production companies need to be diversified,” he said. “In the economy we’re in, if you’re not diversified, it can be a tough row to hoe.”
High Noon’s path to “Tough Love” began three years ago when it signed with Creative Artists Agency. The Hollywood talent agency started introducing Mr. Berger and his team to its other clients—including Ms. Barrymore—while also advising the company on development.
“They work closely with us on our slate, telling us what’s viable and what’s not, what the networks are looking for,” Mr. Berger said. “It’s been a long road. It’s been a challenge getting into business with certain networks, but finally, we’ve been able to cross over.”
High Noon currently has more than two dozen projects on its development roster, as well as several new series already well along in the production pipeline.
History just premiered the High Noon-produced “Warriors,” which features host Terry Schappert delving deep into the world of ancient fighters. On April 25, WE premieres “I Want to Save Your Life,” which features “Diet Detective” Charles Stuart Platkin trying to change participants’ eating habits.
And just last week, TLC ordered “Cake Boss,” a docu-soap featuring master baker Buddy Valastro.
Mr. Berger, whose TV career started in Denver local news, said he wants to stay active in all kinds of programming, maintaining High Noon’s roots in service-oriented shows even as the company jumps into the world of docu-soaps and water-cooler series such as “Tough Love.”
“We want to be known for character-driven reality,” he said. “We want to find those people who have strong points of view, who are big in their world and who we can create a strong format around.”
The latest addition to Mr. Berger’s executive team is Drew Brown, who has joined High Noon as VP of development. A former editor-producer on “Project Runway,” Mr. Brown co-executive produced “Paranormal State” for A&E and “Newport Harbor” for MTV.
Mr. Berger also promoted Pamela Healey, who has been with the company since 2003, to senior VP of development. Ms. Healey runs High Noon’s Los Angeles office, executive produces “Tough Love” and has produced pilots and series for networks including TV Land, ABC Family and Bravo.
High Noon’s Mioshi Hill, meanwhile, has been elevated to director of development.
After spending a decade developing signature shows for cable networks—think Food Network’s “Unwrapped”—Mr. Berger now is hoping High Noon will be able to develop a signature show of its own, one that catapults the company beyond its initial success and into the ranks of top-tier producers. He believes High Noon’s high volume will make that goal easier to attain.
“You need to invest money in development, and to do that you need scale,” he said. “Having a lot of shows can be a good thing.”


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