Vince Manze leaving NBC
Veteran to start a production and new-media company
Manze is credited with slogans ranging from 1990's famous "Must See TV" tagline to promote Thursday night comedies, to 2006's successful "Save the Cheerleader, Save the World" campaign for "Heroes." He was also part of the team that came up with the now-standard practice of squeezing closing credits to the side to make room to promote other shows between programs.
"I have done everything there is to do at NBC," Manze said. "This was the perfect opportunity to go outside and do things on my own. I've always been a creative guy who never really was a corporate guy."
Two years ago, former entertainment president Kevin Reilly promoted Manze from his longtime position as president of NBC Agency to president of program planning and scheduling. In February, under new co-chair Ben Silverman, Manze shifted to the newly created position of president of creative services, where he served as an in-house consultant to the company's television properties.
Manze leaves the company with a couple years left on his contract and will retain ownership of his internal development slate -- which includes about 25 projects from various genres. The marketer points to his recent buzzworthy "Hellboy" viral campaign that featured the title character from Universal Pictures' summer movie appearing on various NBC Universal TV shows such as Bravo's "Inside the Actors Studio," as an example of the type of cross-platform projects he's looking to create.
"The future is connecting as many dots as possible," Manze said. "I have situations between programming and marketing that don't apply to NBC that I'd like to pitch them to the appropriate places. I'd rather sell my ideas to the many companies out there that are looking for them."
Manze declined to discuss specific projects but, as an example, noted, "I have a reality show that's also an online game, that can be promoted the same way. It's not something NBC would probably do, but a cable network would probably do."
Silverman and fellow NBC co-chair Marc Graboff issued this statement: "Vince Manze is leaving NBC to pursue new production ventures. We wish him the best of luck as he moves ahead into this exciting next phase of his career and we look forward to working with him in his new role as an independent producer."
As for the name of his new company, titles are still being vetted. But Manze has a few favorites.
"My first choice is 'InVinceable,' " he said.