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Mark Itkin is making his next move two years after retiring from a long career as an agent.
The former WME partner and architect of the reality television business is joining streaming television company TV4 Entertainment as a senior advisor.
Itkin will work with TV4’s executive team, led by founder and CEO Jon Cody, as the company looks to expand its portfolio of 30 over-the-top channels and invest further into original programming. The company will draw especially on Itkin’s more than 30 years of experience packaging reality television programs such as The Real World and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition to help it funnel new programming — from original series to feature films — into its subject-based channels.
“When I retired from agenting, I said, ‘I’m not going to do anything again unless it’s groundbreaking and game-changing and excites me,'” Itkin tells The Hollywood Reporter. “What interested me about what Jon’s doing is that it really taps in to my expertise, which is packaging, putting things together for the next generation of what television and the television viewing experience is going to be. I can help develop the umbrella, the channels, and then figure out the content to feed those channels. That’s something I haven’t been able to do before.”
Cody, a former Fox executive who oversaw the launch of Hulu as general manager, founded TV4 in 2012 to build out streaming channels for different interests. Five years later, the company operates 30 such channels, everything from the All Warrior Network for veterans and members of the military to Gone TV for hunters and anglers. But the Santa Monica-based company, which has taken investment money from Warner Bros. and Sky, has ambitions to grow its offering to 100.
TV4 also has made a push into producing original programming for its channels, starting with short film Attack on the 4th of July for the All Warrior Network, which debuted in 2014 on Hulu. A deal with All3media International will see TV4 deepen that commitment for a series of new channels, including a home-and-garden channel set to launch this spring. The new brand will be home to original film Together from TV4 head of entertainment Paul Duddridge, who made his directing debut in 2016 with Mothers and Daughters starring Susan Sarandon and Sharon Stone.
Itkin will be a resource to Cody both in the creation of new channels and in his overall content strategy and direction. “There’s no person more in tune to innovating in television than Mark,” says Cody, noting that Itkin will be especially helpful in connecting TV4 with the right partners for new channels. “We can’t program to other people’s passions by ourselves. The only way to do this is to embrace the people, whatever the community is.”
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