Ryan Seacrest Productions Eyes Big Expansion With Executive Hires (Exclusive)
Ryan Seacrest Productions is beefing up its executive ranks, adding a small army of programming executives including Nina Wass as executive vp scripted programming, Joseph Ferraro as vp development working primarily on unscripted projects and Heather Schuster as senior vp development.
Additionally, the company has forged overall deals with veteran Original Productions producer-editor Eric Lange and actor-producer brothers Dan and Ben Newmark, who were previously in an overall deal with FremantleMedia.
The growth spurt comes in the wake of a move in January by Thomas H. Lee (THL) and Bain Capital to make investments driven by Seacrest and his company worth up to $300 million to pursue new opportunities. And RSP CEO Adam Sher tells The Hollywood Reporter that a separate minority investment from radio giant Clear Channel has helped fueled the expansion.
"We had an infusion of capital from Clear Channel into the production company, and we've set our sights on working with our various partners to seize on some exciting new opportunities in the entertainment landscape," Sher says. "We're investing in talent across the company to help us achieve this goal."
Wass will be tasked with building out RSP’s scripted projects, which already include a romantic comedy movie project with Reese Witherspoon’s Type-A Films and Universal. Wass currently is developing comedy and drama projects for Lifetime, TV Land and Showtime.
Ferraro was most recently vp programming at OWN and Shuster comes to RSP from Reveille/Shine, where she was senior vp creative affairs.
Additionally, Gordon Cassidy, who has been consulting for RSP, officially joins the company as vp current programming. And Noah Oppenheim, formerly head of unscripted and digital development at Reveille and a senior producer on NBC’s Today, has signed on as a consultant to development unscripted and scripted shows.
Seacrest and Sher would not comment on the company’s reported interest in buying Dick Clark Productions or reports that the company is out of the running. But certainly RSP already has a considerable Hollywood footprint, which includes a slew of unscripted projects (the Kardashians franchise and Married to Jonas for E!, Shahs of Sunset for Bravo, The Nanny Diaries for ABC Family and the game show Draw Something in development at CBS). Seacrest also continues to host his nationally syndicated Clear Channel radio program and Fox's American Idol, and thanks to a new deal with Comcast-NBCUniversal, he recently joined the network’s ranks of Olympics correspondents.
Says Seacrest, “Our goal at RSP is to also have a balanced slate of reality and scripted shows across major broadcast and cable networks.”