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Lassner sets up his own shop

Former Rosie O'Donnell Show producer Andy Lassner has opened his own production company on the FOX TV Studios lot, and he's looking to develop first-run syndication and cable shows.

Lassner, a veteran daytime producer who last worked as a creative executive at cable's VH1, says he chose to make his production home at 3-year-old FOX TV Studios because it wasn't like the other Hollywood syndication studios.

"I came close to signing a deal with another major syndicator, then I met with (Fox TV Studios' president and CEO) David Grant and there was something about the fact that that these were not people looking to follow the pack," Lassner notes. "They were not looking to do the next court series or whatever the next fad is. They really want to take chances in terms of creating innovative product."

Lassner adds, "And for someone with as much attention-deficit disorder as me, this is the perfect place because there is always something going on."

Andy Lassner Productions becomes the ninth "pod" or mini-studio housed at FOX TV Studios, the low-budget, alternative TV studio created by FOX executives to complement the company's successful prime time studio Twentieth Century FOX. Other pods include The Greenblatt-Janollari Studio (The Hughleys), Regency TV (Malcolm in the Middle) and FOX TV Studios Productions (FX's Son of the Beach).

Lassner has worked on The Richard Bey Show, The Jenny Jones Show, The Jane Whitney Show and as a supervising producer on The Rosie O'Donnell Show. He won two Daytime Emmy Awards while working on O'Donnell's show and actually began his career in television as an intern on The Morton Downey Jr. Show.

Lassner says he will be coming to the annual NATPE Conference next winter with at least "two or three" potential shows for first-run syndication that will probably be distributed by co-owned Twentieth Television.

He's also developing possible cable and network scripted series, something he says he originally wanted to try before getting hooked on daytime talk shows. FOX TV Studios head Grant says, "Andy has a lot of interesting ideas that are not standard ideas; that could be good for a number of different venues. He's been doing this stuff since college and I think he's just a really creative producer."