EXCLUSIVE: As part of Starz’s ongoing companywide staff reductions, the network is restructuring its original programming operation under Kathryn Busby, Starz’s President of Original Programming.
Leaving the network are Kathryn Tyus-Adair, SVP, Original Programming; Alex Alberts, Director of Original Programming; Jordan Lippetz, manager, Original Programming; as well as SVP and Head of Production Kevin Hamburger.
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Most recently, Starz’s original programming executives have been handling both development and current programming responsibilities. Under the new setup, development and current will be two separate groups.
Samantha Nissen, SVP Original Programming, will head Current, with Sebastian Arboleda, VP Original Programming, reporting to her. Christina Jokanovich, SVP of Original Programming, will head Development, with Tara Roy, Director of Original Programming, reporting into her. Giovanna Desselle, Director Original Programming, will work on both current and development.
Karen Bailey, EVP Original Programming, will become Head of Production, succeeding Hamburger, while continuing to handle creative on some select titles.
The Original Programming restructuring and executive departures are part of Starz’s plan to lay off 10% of the company staff ahead of its separation next year from Lionsgate, which was relayed in a memo by CEO Jeff Hirsch last week.
“As difficult as it is, with many of our employees being impacted, we are making these changes to align our organization with the growth areas of the business and to prepare us for our next chapter as a standalone company,” Hirsch wrote in the memo.
Back in September, Hirsch said that Starz is reining in spending on content but not in a way subscribers would necessarily notice.
“It’s not less content — it’s less-expensive content,” he said. “There are a lot of ways to do that. You can go from scripted to unscripted. You can do, instead of 58-minute shows, you can do 52-minute shows. You can do newer shows vs. older-season shows. In the arc of shows, when you go from Season 3 to Season 4, most of the talent gets big raises, so there’s a big cost spike there.”
Since the end of the WGA strike, Starz has greenlighted two new series, Spartacus: House of Ashur, and The Hunting Wives.
During the same period, the network canceled Heels, Run The World and Blindspotting after two seasons each and opted not to go forward with two new series whose production had been interrupted by the writers strike, an Ava DuVernay romantic drama series and The Venery of Samantha Bird.
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