Kevin Reilly's Turner Makeover Continues With Key Hires
Joey Chavez and Meredith Zamsky join the network group, while Thom Hinkle and Robin Pelleck get promotions.
Kevin Reilly’s Turner makeover continues.
Half a year after announcing plans to split TBS and TNT’s original programming teams into two separate units, the newly installed TNT/TBS president has hired a couple of key executives and elevated two others. The former includes Joey Chavez and Meredith Zamsky, who will serve as senior VP of original programming and VP of production, respectively, at TNT. Thom Hinkle has been promoted to senior VP of original programming for TBS, while Robin Pelleck moves to VP of digital content for TBS and TNT original programming.
The news follows Reilly’s early 2015 decision to recruit Friday Night Lights' Sarah Aubrey to serve as his executive VP of original programming for TNT and to promote Brett Weitz to the same role at TBS. At that time, he also named Sandra Dewey president of in-house production arm TNT and TBS Productions as well as business affairs for both networks. In the months since, Reilly’s executive team have been hard at work on a planned rebrand, which got a jolt last week with the news that TNT had nabbed Chad Hodge’s buzzy Michelle Dockery drama pilot, Good Behavior.
"When we talk next year, the evolution of TNT and the revolution at TBS will be real," Reilly said from stage at his first Turner upfront in May, highlighting his plan not only to add more originals but also to sharpen both TNT and TBS' points of view. At TNT, the former Fox and NBC vet is looking to elevate the programming brand with bolder, edgier and more prestige fare; at TBS, he's said to be focused on adding not only more but also younger-skewing, in-your-face comedy.
Chavez comes to TNT from NBC, where he developed The Blacklist and worked on series including Parenthood, Heroes and the Law & Order franchise. In his new role, he’ll be responsible for developing new series for TNT, and will supervise the continued development of greenlit shows as they ready for launch. “Joey has an impressive track record of developing high-quality, buzz-worthy dramas," said Aubrey, to whom he’ll report. “We look forward to him bringing those fresh voices and ideas to TNT’s development slate.” Chavez, an alum of THR’s Next Gen list, will remain in his native Los Angeles, and will work alongside Senior VP original programming Sam Linsky.
For his part, Hinkle is moving up the ranks at TBS, which he joined in late 2013, taking on a role that will have him not only be responsible for original scripted comedy but also be the primary liaison between TBS and the studios that produce its scripted originals. In his tenure there, he’s worked on several new and upcoming series, including Rashida Jones’ Angie Tribeca and comedy pilot Wrecked, and helped lure Daily Show vets Jason Jones and Samantha Bee. “Thom has been an incredible partner since he started at TBS. His taste for great material and eye for talent will be the key driver as we push the network into the future. I only wish he wasn't so mean to me,” joked Weitz, to whom Hinkle reports. Prior to TBS, Hinkle, a former Daily Show field producer and, yes, a semi-finalist at the 1990 Nintendo National Championships, was a co-president at Steve Carell’s Carousel Productions, where he first worked on Angie and Wrecked.
Another key promotion: Pelleck, who will be working directly with the two network’s current series productions to develop custom content and digital extensions, and serve as the primary contact between the network’s series productions and TNT and TBS’s advertising sales, marketing and social media teams to create digital content for the nets' linear series. “As TBS and TNT continue to expand our multiplatform offerings, Robin is the ideal person to lead the execution of these valuable digital assets,” noted Linsky, to whom she’ll report. Pelleck’s career began in live sports, where she had a long relationship with Turner working on the PGA Championship and NFL on TNT for Turner Sports, and she re-joined the Turner team as a director of original custom content for the two networks.
Finally, Zamsky will be tasked with supervising, coordinating and monitoring production-related activities, including staffing, budgeting and negotiating deals for key crew on upcoming TNT original programs. She comes to Turner with an extensive list of producing credits, having served as a production manager on The Office and ABC’s Castle, as well as an exec producer on films including Country Strong and The Stepfather. "It's rare to find someone with the wealth of production experience Meredith brings to her new role at TNT and TBS. She is an incredibly organized and energetic producer and an extremely valuable addition to our team,” said senior VP production Mark Weissman, to whom Zamsky will report.