HRTS Member Profile: Christina Wayne
Christina Wayne is President of Cineflix Studios. She is responsible for the company’s scripted programming, handling the division’s projects from inception through to broadcast. I recently had a chance to interview Christina to discuss writing, family and MAD MEN.
Q: Can you tell us about your background and what made you want to work in TV?
-I was a screenwriter in Los Angeles for 10 years before moving back to New York in 2005. At that time, HBO had really broken ground with their original programming and it felt like the more exciting medium to be in was TV rather than features. Although I didn't know much about the TV business (I thought AMC was a movie chain), I agreed to meet with Rob Sorcher at AMC to discuss their plans in 2005 to start an originals business.
Q: What do you look for when developing a new show?
-a number of things: first and foremost a character and story I am emotionally engaged in. A world I haven't seen explored before. Lastly, the ability for the series to extend beyond the pilot and the first season. This usually is because there is some type of business at the center of the show that generates stories week in week out: Mad Men it’s the ad agency, Breaking Bad it’s the drug trade and Copper it’s the police precinct.
Q: When developing new material at what point do you sense that you might have a hit?
-when I read the pilot and hear where the series goes in season one from the creator. Matt Weiner pitched me out the whole Don Draper/Dick Whitman storyline in our second meeting and I knew then we had something incredible.
Q: What are some of the keys to the ongoing success of COPPER?
-the show at its core has a man trying to piece back together his family which, on an emotional level, resonates with an audience. The world is also so fascinating and not a time period often portrayed on TV so it really transports the viewer out of their current world much like a Downton Abbey or Game of Thrones. Second season is proving to be even more compelling as we produce it. I'm very excited about raising the bar on the show on every level this season.
Q: How is working with Cineflix similar to or different from working with a network like AMC?
-it's similar in the sense I'm still developing and making great TV series and working with phenomenal talent. Now I just do it on a global scale rather than for just the US market. I’m now a seller rather than being a buyer, but honestly at AMC, I had to sell the shows through to upper management, so in fact I was always a bit of a seller there too. Now I just sell to many more buyers.
Q: Where do you want to be in five years?
-still growing Cineflix into becoming one of the best and most competitive TV studios worldwide. I see potential for huge growth for Cineflix over the next five years.
Q: Anything you¹d like to add?
-whenever I go to an HRTS luncheon, as I did this week when I watched the Cable Chiefs panel, I am always humbled and grateful that I get the opportunity to work within the amazing community of people who make up our fantastic business.