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Playing a Part in Cable's Scripted Boon

Scripted programming is having a renaissance
of sorts on cable, and that’s good news
for Shelley Zimmerman and her team at Warner
Horizon Television.

Zimmerman has been a part of WHTV since
it was founded in 2006 to expand Warner Bros.
Television Group’s program offerings to cable.
As senior VP of scripted programming, she oversees
the day-to-day development and production
of originals, working closely with executive
VP Craig Erwich.

“Part of what’s so exciting right now in cable
is the tremendous growth of scripted programming,”
“New outlets are
getting involved
that haven’t done
scripted before,
and outlets that
have maybe
launched one
or two shows
a season are
launching more.”

As such,
WHTV has nearly
doubled its number
of series on
the air in the last
year, and its new series are some of the most
high-profile cable premieres this summer: A&E’s
Longmire, TNT’s Dallas, USA’s Political Animals
and TBS’ Sullivan & Son. Along with its continuing
series, TNT’s Rizzoli & Isles and ABC Family’s
Pretty Little Liars and The Lying Game, the studio’s
resume boasts a wide range of shows on a
diversity of outlets.

“It’s incredibly exciting as a creative executive
to service networks that have such specific and
targeted audiences, and that I get to do it all in
one day,” Zimmerman says. “It really allows a
tremendous amount of creative freedom.”

Creativity wasn’t always a part of the job for
Zimmerman, who started her career at Goldman
Sachs. But while her colleagues were reading
The Wall Street Journal and Barron’s, she was
devouring Entertainment Weekly and Variety.
After three years in finance, she took the leap
and moved to Los Angeles, starting in the mailroom
at agency Endeavor.

At WHTV, Zimmerman wants to grow the
output of programming while maintaining the
quality that they produce on a lower budget. As
for her own career trajectory, the onetime agent
definitively sees herself staying on the creative
side of the business.

“I was dying to work in a more creative capacity,”
she says. “Now that I found it, I’m not