Nina Tassler, Denise Di Novi Launch Independent Studio for the Time's Up Era

Nina Tassler and Denise Di Novi - Split - Publicity - H 2018
Courtesy of CBS/Cliff Lipson and CAA

Fittingly, PatMa Productions is named after Di Novi and Tassler’s mothers, Pat and Norma, respectively.

Nina Tassler and Denise Di Novi are teaming up to try to change Hollywood’s narrative once and for all.

The pair has formed PatMa Productions — named after Di Novi and Tassler’s mothers, Pat and Norma, respectively — which is being billed as an independent studio that will amplify diverse voices across the multiplatform global entertainment universe. Tassler brings to the new entity a lengthy career as a top programming executive, most recently as chairman of CBS Entertainment, while Di Novi is herself a high-profile film and TV producer whose credits include Heathers, Crazy Stupid Love and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

Being able to focus more explicitly on diversity and inclusion is something that the new partners consider a strategic business advantage in the current climate. With the Time's Up initiative as its backdrop, PatMa comes at a time when the industry’s leading women are having very public conversations about opportunities and parity, with an eye toward change. It's worth stating here that Tassler and Di Novi’s company is by no means the only one of its kind; Reese Witherspoon and Lena Dunham are among others who have created production entities in recent years designed to share stories from underrepresented perspectives (in both Witherspoon and Dunham's cases, from and about women).

“We are committed to gender parity, and giving women and people of color more opportunities both in front of and behind the camera. PatMa will develop content that not only entertains, but surprises, challenges, and awakens audiences to the emotional experiences of people from every walk of life,” Di Novi said in a statement, with Tassler adding: “We recognize that diverse voices from diverse backgrounds make innovative storytelling, which is good for business, and we are excited to work in partnership with an array of creatively talented people — both women and men — who share our vision and values. It’s a critical time and we look forward to telling these stories across a wide spectrum of platforms.”

PatMa has already forged strategic partnerships with several organizations with shared common values, including the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, the Center for Popular Democracy and Planned Parenthood. The studio, whose formation was orchestrated by CAA, Evolution Media and top attorney Cliff Gilbert-Lurie, is designed to create content across platforms, including film, TV, theater and publishing.

During Tassler’s 12-year tenure at CBS, she managed to assemble a senior executive staff that was 50 percent female and a showrunner stable that was one-third women. In her later years at the network, she pushed for more key roles for women onscreen, too. Since departing in 2015, Tassler has not only lined up a series of producing projects and speaking engagements at women’s conferences and events but also published her first book, What I Told My Daughter: Lessons From Leaders on Raising the Next Generation of Empowered Women.

For her part, Di Novi has spent two decades in a lucrative production deal at Warner Bros. Pictures, which will continue. She has produced more than three dozen features in her career and has more recently pushed into TV, with series including CBS’ The District, on which she worked with Tassler