Warner Bros. TV Syndication Veteran Jim Paratore Dies at 58
Jim Paratore, a veteran television executive who was an executive producer of TMZ, died suddenly May 29 of a heart attack while on a cycling vacation in France. He was 58.
Paratore oversaw development of the show TMZ with Harvey Levin while he was president of Telepictures Productions, a unit of Warner Bros. TV. He also served as executive vp of Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution.
“The Warner Bros. Television family has lost an incredibly talented and creative friend and colleague in Jim,” said Bruce Rosenblum, president of Warner Bros. Television Group. “He has left an indelible mark not only on our company’s success but on each of us who worked with him during the past 26 years. Jim had a passion for life, both inside and outside the entertainment industry, and he will truly be missed. All of us at Warner Bros. are shaken by this news.”
Paratore founded paraMedia in 2006 after almost three decades as an executive. ParaMedia has an exclusive overall deal with the Warner Bros. Television Group and is based on the studio lot in Burbank.
TMZ started online in 2005, which was an unusual move at the time. After interest in the website grew, however, Paratore and Warner Bros. were able to move it to television in 2007, where it has become a surprise success story.
Paratore was unusual in that he worked on both the creative and the business side of show business, often at the same time. He served as president of Telepictures Productions from 1992-2006 and had been executive vp of Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution since 2002.
While running Telepictures, Paratore was credited with building the nonscripted production division into one of the industry’s most prolific producers. Among the shows that came out of those efforts are The Ellen DeGeneres Show (on which he was an executive producer), Bonnie Hunt, Judge Mathis, Extra, The Tyra Banks Show, The Rosie O’Donnell Show and Jenny Jones.
In primetime, Paratore and his team helped put on the air The Bachelor, High School Reunion, Steve Harvey’s Big Time and The Starlet. He also worked on TBS' late-night talker Lopez Tonight, starring George Lopez.
Before Telepictures, Paratore was at Lorimar as senior vp and was vp first run development before that. He was also vp development at Lorimar.
Before Lorimar and Telepictures, Paratore worked at local TV stations. He began his career in New Orleans at KALB-TV (in Alexandria, La.) and was director of programming and production at WTVJ-TV Miami, program director at WPLG-TV Miami and advertising and promotion manager at WJXT-TV Jacksonville, Fla.
Paratore earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Loyola University in New Orleans.
He is survived by his wife, Jill Wickert, and his daughter, Martinique Paratore.