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Paramount Grabs Its Big Ticket

Paramount Network Television and Paramount Domestic Television are consolidating between them the TV production operations of Big Ticket Television, and Big Ticket's president, Larry Lyttle, will be departing.

Big Ticket, which has been part of Paramount since 1994, produces network and first-run TV series, including UPN's Moesha
and The Parkers, CBS's Hack, The WB's The Jamie Kennedy Experiment, and first-runs Judge Judy
and Judge Joe Brown.

"For the past several months, Larry has discussed with us his interest and desire to seek new and different opportunities for himself. Additionally, over the last year, we have been reviewing the best way to run our television operations in light of the economic conditions that exist in today's marketplace," said Garry Hart, president of Paramount Television Production, and Jonathan Dolgen, chairman of the Viacom Entertainment Group, in a joint statement.

"We believe that, as part of our effort to position Paramount Television to continue to be a strong and vibrant creative and economic force in the TV business, we are required to seek operating efficiencies."

It is unclear how many of the 40-plus Big Ticket staffers will be folded into Paramount and how many will be let go.

Lyttle will stay with the company for the next three months to help with the transition.

He was president of Spelling Television, also owned by Paramount, before spinning off Big Ticket. When Big Ticket launched, he wanted to name it Blockbuster Television after the video-rental outlet. But the production company's new corporate parent, Viacom, opposed the name because the video chain's fate as a part of the combined companies was unclear. Lyttle chose Big Ticket after driving by a Blockbuster store and noting the "big ticket" logo.

Prior to heading Big Ticket, he spent eight years as vice president of creative affairs for Warner Bros. Television before becoming a producer of series and made-for-TV movies at the studio from 1990 to '92. While at Warner Bros., he developed such shows as Murphy Brown, Night Court, China Beach
and Life Goes On.