WMG takes spin at programming

Den of Thieves to create content around news releases

NEW YORK -- Warner Music Group continues to push into new businesses, unveiling Monday the creation of a new Los Angeles-based production unit that will develop and produce original programming for network, cable, DVD, broadband and mobile platforms.

Industry veterans Jesse Ignjatovic and Evan Prager will head the division, which will use the moniker Den of Thieves. It will be overseen by executives from WMG's U.S. recorded music division, including Lyor Cohen, Craig Kallman, Julie Greenwald and Tom Whalley, the company said.

Den of Thieves, represented by CAA, will work with WMG's labels to create content for distribution around its artists' releases and special projects. In addition, it will explore original programming and other opportunities beyond WMG's talent roster.

As a first project, the division will revive "Diary," a show that Ignjatovic once created and executive produced for MTV, for CMT, the company said. The show, which aired more than 80 episodes, takes viewers into the lives of popular entertainers.

WMG said Monday that Martina McBride (pictured) and Gretchen Wilson will be among the first artists who will be featured in the revived series.

"As we continue our evolution as a music-based content company, it is essential to bring in-house the expertise to create the highest quality music-based original programming," said Lyor Cohen, WMG's chairman and CEO of U.S. recorded music.

"Den of Thieves will think outside of the box to create and develop unique opportunities that will expand the reach and creativity of WMG's recording artists," Ignjatovic said.

Prager added that the unit will look to also "build new franchises for WMG."

Ignjatovic most recently was named executive producer of the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards.

He spent 14 years at MTV, where he was responsible for developing projects with music talent and other music-based programming for the network. He worked on such shows as "Meet the Barkers," "Diary," "mtvICON" and "Life & Rhymes of ... ."

Prager has 13 years of experience working for major labels. He has worked at Epic Records and, most recently, at the Island Def Jam Music Group where he served as vp video promotion from 2002-06.