Next Generation 2011: Television
PICTURED From left: Warner Bros. TV's Lisa Roos, Media Rights Capital's Joe Hipps, NBCUniversal's Brandon Riegg, ABC Family's Marci Cooperstein, Fox Broadcasting's Charlie Andrews, Olive Bridge Entertainment's Richard Schwartz and HBO's Nick Hall
Charlie Andrews | 29
VP Drama Development, Fox Broadcasting Co.
As many of Andrews' Georgetown classmates were pursuing careers in political circles and legal work, Andrews, a government major and theology/Spanish double minor, found himself poring over the Hollywood trades and any relevant industry books he could scrounge up at Barnes & Noble. "I discovered The Hollywood Reporter and Variety online my sophomore year and began to read them every day to try to understand ratings and what shows were doing well," he recalls of a passion few at his college shared. Andrews landed an internship on the first major D.C.-area TV project he could find: America's Most Wanted. While neither the genre nor the subject matter appealed to him, he fell in love with the creative process. After college, the Chicago native and frequent hiker moved to Hollywood, where he landed a gig in NBC's page program and worked his way up the studio ranks. Along the way, he added series (Friday Night Lights, Heroes) and mentors (Katherine Pope, Kevin Reilly), ultimately deciding to jump to Fox in May after 6½ years at NBC. During the five months since, Andrews, who calls working with showrunner Jason Katims on FNL the "best working experience" of his career, has been involved in such shows as the upcoming drama Touch from Tim Kring (Heroes) and development projects from friends Silvio Horta of Ugly Betty and Josh Berman of Drop Dead Diva.
Marci Cooperstein | 31
Executive Director, Programming & Development, ABC Family
The New Jersey native was already set on a career in television when she arrived at UCLA in 1998. During Cooperstein's four-year tenure as a communications studies major, the former editor-in-chief of her high school newspaper co-founded an undergraduate TV station, executive produced its newsmagazine show and landed a series of industry internships. "I was an internship-aholic," says Cooperstein with a laugh, ticking off gigs at DreamWorks, Comedy Central and E!, among others. In the years since, the married foodie, who spent time in ABC's unscripted department before moving to its sister cable network in 2004, has been busy putting interns to work through ABC Family's "Fambassadors" program. ("We've turned college interns into brand ambassadors on their campuses," she says.) In the early years, Cooperstein played an integral role as the younger-skewing cable network looked to stake its claim in the scripted space, working on shows like Kyle XY. These days, she is focused on development projects including the comedy Baby Daddy and the drama Bunheads from Gilmore Girls' Amy Sherman-Palladino, along with a slate of highly rated series that includes Switched at Birth and The Secret Life of the American Teenager. Her other mandate: Spearhead ABC Family's push into unscripted programming, a genre with which Cooperstein grew familiar working on such highly rated series as The Bachelor and Extreme Makeover at ABC.
Nick Hall | 32
VP Comedy Development, HBO
Hall likes to say Nicole Kidman is to blame for his love affair with the entertainment industry. "I probably watched To Die For 100 times throughout high school," says the self-proclaimed movie buff from Michigan, noting that he was particularly struck by one of Kidman's famous lines in the film: "You're no one in America unless you're on TV." Fortunately, quips Hall, "I grew up to be a TV executive, not a murderous woman." After studying film at the University of Michigan, he was hired by then-agent Sue Naegle to work in UTA's mailroom, where Hall got a crash course in the inner workings of Hollywood. From there, he moved into comedy development at Warner Bros. TV before following Naegle to HBO. During his three years there, Hall has been tasked with amping up the network's comedy output, developing more niche series such as Enlightened. He also has been intimately involved in the production of Curb Your Enthusiasm, which recently wrapped a well-received eighth season. The irony is that while Hall has made a career in comedy, traditionally he is drawn to drama on the bigger screen. "As odd as it is, the movies that I always find myself really loving are the ones that kind of make me nauseous for 48 hours afterward," he says, citing Black Swan and Lars von Trier's Melancholia as examples.
Joe Hipps | 34
VP Television Production and Creative Affairs, Media Rights Capital
It took Hipps a few years of art school to figure out which parts of the entertainment industry he wasn't interested in pursuing. "Everything leading up to the movie getting made and then everything after was always great, but I learned that watching the actual production can be a bit slow and boring," says the Bay Area native. Armed with that knowledge, Hipps moved to Los Angeles and took a string of executive-track gigs, first at the Innovative Artists talent agency and then at Michael Ovitz's entertainment company AMG. About three years ago, the TV and film junkie -- who spent the years between those jobs working on such TV projects as the Fox hit Prison Break -- landed at MRC. There, he has played an integral role in putting together the groundbreaking 26-episode Netflix deal for the upcoming series House of Cards, a David Fincher-produced political thriller starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright. Other projects include a Chris Carter mystery drama being pitched to networks and a collection of niche comedies, including The Ricky Gervais Show, on HBO. The highlight for Hipps is the roster of talent with whom he has been able to work at the independent studio. "It makes my job 10 times easier when I can call someone up and say, 'We've got David Fincher or Chris Carter,' because then it doesn't really matter who Joe Hipps is," he says, laughing.
Brandon Riegg | 34
VP Alternative Programming and Development, NBCUniversal
Having spent much of his upbringing abroad in Taiwan, England, China and Sri Lanka with his family (his father was a State Department employee), Riegg used U.S. TV shows as his connection to home. In fact, stateside friends made a habit of recording his favorites -- The Simpsons, America's Funniest Home Videos, Saved by the Bell, In Living Color, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air -- and sending VHS tapes. "They were these six- or eight-hour tapes, and they would send them two or three at a time," he recalls of the regular care packages, which he believes made him a bigger TV fan than he otherwise might have been. Although Riegg briefly toyed with a career in journalism and a more traditional finance path during college, the University of Pennsylvania grad and fitness fanatic ultimately decided to make TV shows as a profession. After a college internship at the TV Academy in Los Angeles followed by stints at Fox TV Studios, VH1 and ABC, where he oversaw Wipeout and Dancing With the Stars, he was recruited to NBC in July 2010. During the last year-plus, Riegg has divided his time between new projects (a rebooted Fear Factor) and programming on the air (America's Got Talent, The Biggest Loser). What's the appeal of unscripted? "It's a lot quicker," he says, noting that he enjoys how reactive and responsive he's able to be in the reality space. "And unlike asking a writer to make a scene more emotional or giving another note [as one would in scripted], here you work in the trenches and are brainstorming and collaborating with them."
Lisa Roos | 33
VP Drama Development, Warner Bros. Television
Roos has been prepping for a career in entertainment since she was a child in Avon, Conn. At 9 or 10, she began hosting her own version of Good Morning America, moving from room to room with her family's video camera filming segments on the weather, current events and interviews with family and friends. "I modeled myself after Joan London," recalls Roos. But a college internship at GMA helped her come to the conclusion that she was interested more in the entertainment business than the news business. Upon graduating from the University of Arizona, Roos moved to Hollywood and accepted the first gig on offer: extra work on Ryan Murphy's short-lived WB drama Popular. From there, she landed briefly at Innovative Artists before moving into an assistant role in drama development at Warner Bros. TV in 2001. A decade or so later, the avid runner and frequent traveler -- recent trips include visits to Australia and Thailand -- is still there, hard at work on a range of series including CBS pair Person of Interest and The Mentalist and the CW's The Secret Circle.
Richard Schwartz | 35
Senior VP TV, Olive Bridge Entertainment
One could argue Schwartz has Stephen Colbert to thank for his career in comedy television. The Colbert Report host, after all, was the Chicago native's first instructor when he enrolled in classes at Second City as teenager. "I didn't have an interest in performing; I wanted to be around comedy and see how everything worked behind the scenes," Schwartz says. He moved west after college and landed his first industry gig as David Lynch's assistant, working on Mulholland Drive, which was being developed as an ABC pilot at the time. Then, as the first web boom was in full swing, he took a job at a startup that produced websites for pro athletes. For the better part of a year, Schwartz was on tour with tennis beauty Anna Kournikova. "It wasn't a bad place to end up when you're a 23-year-old," he says, "but it was a bit odd to be ghost writing for a 16-year-old Russian sex symbol." From there, he moved to an interactive-producer gig at Fox Sports and then on to more traditional roles at Warner Bros. TV and Conan O'Brien's production company, Conaco. In between, the married father of two found a way to monetize his encyclopedic knowledge of pop culture by winning $18,000 on VH1's Rock & Roll Jeopardy. Since joining Olive Bridge, the recently launched shingle from Easy A director Will Gluck, Schwartz has sold seven projects to networks, including a highly sought-after mockumentary-style series from Megamind writers Alan Schoolcraft and Brent Simons.