Studios: A Busy Week

As more than 3,500 TV marketing executives gathered at last week's annual Promax/BDA conference in New York to discuss new-media challenges, many in their ranks were putting the theories into action. From hiring the right executives to strategies for online shows, the discussion panels focused on marketing techniques for the digital world. Outside the meeting rooms at the Hilton, the television world was buzzing with news from their colleagues:

Warner Bros. tapped digital-media and children's-TV marketing executive Lisa Judson as president of animation. Hollywood needs executives like Judson to engineer a whole new generation of digital deals, like the one NBC Universal Domestic TV Distribution made last week to have NBCU Digital Studios provide Netflix with its first original content.

The selection of Judson from corporate sibling AOL's marketing wing comes as the entertainment studio is looking to expand beyond traditional production to broadband and other new-media platforms. The goal, according to Warner Bros. Television Group President Bruce Rosenblum, is to get more bang for the buck from Bugs Bunny & Co.

“Today, it takes more than just compelling programming to break through in the highly saturated kids arena,” he says. “We expect [Judson] will step up our activities in the television-production, new-media and direct-to-consumer arenas.”

As a senior VP of marketing at AOL, Judson, a 15-year veteran of the kids-programming business, played key roles in launching Mark Burnett's Gold Rush, In2TV (an AOL-Warner Bros. broadband network) and Live 8 (the Web's first Emmy winner).

NBCU will produce a broadband show for Netflix later this year titled I Love This Movie!. It will highlight a classic film in two three-minute Webisodes appearing every other week. The service will make it available instantly on its Website, as well as on two areas of the Netflix site.

The companies, which teamed for an NBC marketing effort last year, say the content is part of a three-series original-broadband order and is based on an original idea generated by NBCU. They will announce more series later this year.

Twentieth and Reveille will produce The Mom Show, which the syndicator is targeting for a fall 2008 launch. The series, which has no on-air talent or station groups attached yet, brings celebrities and parenting authorities together to touch on family topics and trends, such as cooking, fashion, fitness and finances.

Ben Silverman, recently named co-chairman of NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios (formerly NBC Universal Television Studio), will forego an executive-producing credit on the new series.

Twentieth TV President Bob Cook says The Mom Show is aimed directly at viewers who make up “a significant portion of daytime audiences.” Even a traditional strip about moms will have an interactive element, with a Website on tap that will offer additional information, resources, links and community boards.

Reveille's Mark Koops and Howard T. Owens will serve as executive producers. Twentieth will name its member of the show-running team later.

Telepictures shot a talk-show pilot for actress/comic Bonnie Hunt last week on the set of Ellen.

NBCU signed Howie Mandel to host a daytime syndicated version of his popular NBC primetime game show, Deal or No Deal.