JHRTS NY News & Updates: October 2011
It’s been a busy summer for JHRTS in New York. We’ve joined forces with the New York Television Festival, held our first annual summer party, and heard from some really successful and powerful television executives and producers. And, after just one year on the New York scene, we’re proud to have passed the 135 members mark! We think we’re well on our way to becoming a dominant force in the East Coast entertainment community.
Our first annual summer party brought over 50 JHRTS members together for the first time under the warm New York sky. We got together at Manhattan’s beautiful Eventi Hotel Food Parc and enjoyed libations and revelry as we made new connections with fellow junior executives from the business.
We also hosted a panel event that was quite apropos for our East Coast members: “The Non-Scripted Roundtable.” Joining us were Patrice Andrews (Executive Vice President of ITV Studios), Nina Diaz (Executive Producer of Mob Wives), Lauren Gellert (Vice President at ION Media), and Ed Simpson (Co-Executive Producer of Wife Swap and Russian Dolls), and moderator Mark Mullett (WME Television Agent). The JHRTS members in attendance really got a great sense of the soup-to-nuts process of developing and creating non-scripted programming – from all sides of the equation. We were lucky to have a studio, a network, a production company, and an agency represented on our panel. And we got some great insights in what goes in to casting some of the zaniest shows on television!
JHRTS was also excited for the first year of our new partnership with the New York Television Festival. For the first time, the NYTVF created a Next Generation Committee to judge the many festival contests. That Next Gen Committee was comprised of JHRTS members from both New York and Los Angeles (some of whom even joined us in New York for the Festival weekend) and was charged with selecting the best independent pilots and scripts that were under consideration this year. JHRTS members and NYTVF attendees were also treated to exclusive broadcast premieres (Allen Gregory and Prime Suspect) as well as special guest speakers (like Damon Lindelof and Phil Rosenthal). We also held a really successful and enjoyable JHRTS/NYTVF cocktail party, during which our JHRTS members mingled with the NYTVF artists-in-residence and made some lasting connections.
Our October event was a special one for us, as we had four incredibly successful women share their experiences with JHRTS. “The Scripps Nets Execs” Roundtable featured three top executives from the Scripps family of cable networks: Kathleen Finch (General Manager, HGTV), Susie Fogelson (Senior Vice President of Marketing & Brand Strategy, Food Network and Cooking Channel), and Allison Page (Senior Vice President of Programming, Food Network & Cooking Channel). Our moderator was one of the faces of Susie and Allison’s networks, the celebrity chef Alex Guarnaschelli. The discussion focused on Kathleen’s, Allison’s, and Susie’s goals for their networks, as well as what they do daily in order to ensure the continuation of a successful product. Kathleen (who has spent time at CBS, Food Network, and DIY Network) expressed that Scripps Networks are unique in that they approach their network as more than just a few hit shows; they are never complacent and ceaselessly take risks with new additions in order to re-invigorate and maintain their audiences. Both Kathleen and Allison (who, like Kathleen, spent many years at CBS News) are focused on never resting on their laurels. Danger, as they explained, always comes around when things are seemingly running smoothly. Allison, for instance, is always making sure her programming team has “multiple eggs in the basket.” Susie (who was a successful marketer in the advertising world before moving to Nickelodeon), on the other hand, noted that while programming is essential, she focuses on building a successful 360 degree brand by using television series as a launch pad for all sorts of ancillary products – cookbooks, merchandising, licensing, food products, and the like.
Like the ladies from Scripps, we too refuse to rest on our laurels, which is why we strive to make each event better than the last. Next up? A conversation with two of the most important programmers and producers of the last decade. Tony DiSanto and Liz Gateley, the founders of the new production company DiGa (a partnership with Barry Diller’s IAC and Ben Silverman’s Electus), are sure to be a real treat for JHRTS New York. As President of Programming and Senior Vice President of Series Development, respectively, at MTV, Tony and Liz spearheaded some of the most successful shows of the last several years. Our members were (and are) surely fans of much of their work: Jersey Shore, Laguna Beach, The Hills, and Teen Mom, just to name a few. We hope to have a great turn-out on November 1st for Tony and Liz! RSVP at https://jhrts.pingg.com/diga.