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Posts Tagged ‘Dawn Ostroff’

Amazon to Debut New Yorker Series

AmazonLogo150x150Amazon.com has announced seven new pilots, and one that caught our eye was The New Yorker Presents. According to Amazon, it will be a “docu-series,” which is a fancy way of saying the show will feature both fiction and documentary elements.

The New Yorker Presents, along with the other shows, will debut early next year. Here’s Amazon’s description of The New Yorker Presents:

America’s most award-winning magazine comes to life in this half hour docu-series pilot. The New Yorker Presents is a completely unique viewing experience that features Tony-Award winner Alan Cumming (The Good Wife) and actor Brett Gelman (Go On) in a short film based on a story by Simon Rich (Saturday Night Live) and directed by Emmy Award-winning director Troy Miller (Arrested Development); a poem by Matthew Dickman; a documentary by Academy Award-winning director Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs) about biologist Tyrone Hayes based on a Rachel Aviv article; and an interview with famous performance artist, Marina Abramović, conducted by The New Yorker writer Ariel Levy. Academy Award-winning documentarian Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side) is Executive Producer, joined by Dave Snyder (Death Row Stories) and Dawn Ostroff (The Fashion Fund). The pilot is co-produced by Condé Nast Entertainment and Jigsaw Productions.

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Condé Nast Restructures Digital Team

CondeNastLogoCondé Nast has announced some changes to its digital leadership team. Leading the way is the appointment of Fred Santarpia to executive VP and chief digital officer of Condé Nast.

The new role will have Santarpia overseeing all of the publishing house’s digital strategies. Santarpia most recently served as executive VP and chief digital officer of Condé Nast Entertainment (CNE). Prior to joining Condé, Santarpia was general manager at Vevo.

Additionally, Lisa Valentino will add to her role as CNE’s chief revenue officer and lead digital sales for the company enterprise-wide. She and Josh Stinchcomb — was named senior VP of sales strategy — will work closely together. They both will report to Edward Menicheschi, CMO and president of Condé Nast Media, and Dawn Ostroff, president of CNE.

In the same announcement, Condé stated that Joe Simon, its chief technology officer, is out.

Condé Nast’s Dawn Ostroff: ‘We Haven’t Even Scratched the Surface’

Former Lifetime, UPN and CW programming exec Dawn Ostroff is now the president of Condé Nast Entertainment, responsible for a prospective 100 digital series. During an appearance Monday at the Interactive Advertising Bureau MIXX Conference portion of Advertising Week New York, she colorfully framed how the audience-fragmentation writing was on the wall during her time at The CW.

In meetings with Les Moonves, Ostroff remembered that her boss would ask how it was possible that a show like Gossip Girl, on the lips of everyone, could have such mediocre Nielsen ratings. Ostroff would struggle to reply since DVR, social and Internet metrics were in their infancy. But, as she told IAB president and CEO Randall Rothenberg on stage:

“While I was at The CW, we single-handedly watched them [18 to 34-year-old viewers] migrate away from television on to other platforms. Legally or illegally, unfortunately.”

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Condé Nast Launches Video Curation Site ‘The Scene’

Condé Nast Entertainment is taking a deep dive into video with the launch of The Scene, a site that will curate programming from Condé brands and a slew of partners. Initial companies producing content for the site — which launches in July — include ABC News, Buzzfeed, Major League Soccer, Variety, Weather Channel Films and more.

Videos from the following Condé brands will also be featured on The Scene by the end of the year: Allure, Bon Appétit, Epicurious, Glamour, Golf Digest, GQ, Self, Style.com, Teen Vogue, Vanity Fair, Vogue, Wired, Lucky and The New Yorker.

Naturally, the Condé execs are singing the praises of The Scene before it even launches. “In just one year, CNÉ has set the industry standard for award-winning original video content that millions of influential millennials are watching and sharing” said Dawn Ostroff, president of Condé Nast Entertainment, in a statement. “The addition of The Scene, which will feature content from all of our powerful branded channels and premium digital videos from leading traditional and digital media companies, will increase our reach to entirely new audiences.”

Condé Nast Entertainment Names Programming Exec

Conde NastCondé Nast Entertainment has named Joe LaBracio executive vice president, alternative programming. LaBracio comes to the company from United Talent Agency, where he served as co-head of alternative television. He has previously served as an agent in the television department of Creative Artists Agency.

“Joe has worked with the team at UTA to build an impressive alternative television department,” said Dawn Ostroff, president of Condé Nast Entertainment, in a statement. “I am delighted that he will be bringing his keen sense of resonant programming and extensive experience in unscripted television development and production to CNE.”

LaBracio’s appointment is effective January 13.

Lisa Valentino Named Chief Revenue Officer of Condé Nast Entertainment

conde_x200Lisa Valentino has been named chief revenue officer of Condé Nast Entertainment, a new role at the company. Valentino comes to the company from ESPN, where she served as senior VP of multimedia sales.

“Today’s marketers know that the lines have blurred and consumers no longer make a differentiation between television and digital video content,” said Dawn Ostroff, president of Condé Entertainment, in a statement. “Lisa’s experience at a successful traditional media company like ESPN, and her knowledge and understanding of the evolving marketplace, will help keep Condé Nast Entertainment at the forefront as the video market opens up.”

Valentino will report to Fred Santarpia, Condé Entertainment’s executive VP and chief digital officer.

Vanity Fair and Vogue Get TV Deals

Vanity Fair and Vogue are getting into the TV business. According to The Wall Street Journal, the Condé Nast titles have inked deals with Discovery Communications to launch two shows: Vanity Fair Confidential and Fashion Fund.

The crime and mystery show Confidential, based on a series of VF articles, will air on Investigation Discovery channel, and Fashion Fund, based on a design contest sponsored by Vogue, will air on Ovation channel.

Magazine articles serving as the source for TV shows and movies is nothing new, but what is worth noting here is that these two deals are seemingly more friendly to Condé Nast, not writers. Older Condé contracts gave writers royalties if their pieces hit the big screen, but newer contracts do not give out as much. Unsurprisingly, magazine editors and writers aren’t happy with that, which makes sense, since without their ideas the shows wouldn’t exist.

Dawn Ostroff, head of Condé Nast Entertainment — the division of the publishing house that handles TV and movie deals — told the Journal that writers still get “a fair market value” for their work. Let’s hope that’s true.

Shirley MacLaine Stops by a Birthday Party for Liz Smith

1003_mockup.gifI knew it was going to be quite the scene at Michael’s today when a little birdie told me that there was going to be a lunch for Liz Smith celebrating the grand dame of gossip’s upcoming birthday at Table One. Suffice to say I wasn’t disappointed. None other than Shirley MacLaine stopped by to say hello to Liz (more on why later), and I got to chat with the legendary actress about her guest-starring stint on Downton Abbey. While the entire restaurant swiveled in our general direction, I jumped up from my seat to ask about her experience on PBS’ smash hit and she couldn’t have been more gracious.

“I loved doing the show,” she told me. “Everyone was so welcoming and great about everything. I was amazed that no matter what the weather — because it rained a lot when we were shooting — they all went on as if the sun was shining. They were wonderfully professional.” Her character, Martha Levinson, appeared in only two episodes but left quite an impact on viewers — particularly when Martha sparred with Violet, the Dowager Countess played by the legendary Maggie Smith. “That was one of my favorite days on the set,” Ms. MacLaine told me of the scene where she and Ms. Smith sat for hours in a church pew waiting for the ill-fated wedding of Lady Edith to begin. “We spent eight hours talking about life, and we never ran out of things to say.” I bet. Before she dashed out the door — she only stayed long enough to say her hellos — I asked whether she’d be returning to the series and she said, “Yes. We start shooting soon. I’m looking forward to it.” So are we.

Liz Smith with her party pals and her armadillo cake

Now, back to Liz’s lunch (described as a “southern confab”), which Hearst’s Deb Shriver put together with scribe Julia Reed and ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong. Deb was putting the finishing touches on the table, which included a bouquet of yellow roses arranged in Joe’s Texas bronzed boot and a specially designed menu (fried chicken, collard greens and corn bread) featuring a photo of Liz at a year old. Liz and Joe have a long friendship that dates back to 1968 when Joe first arrived in New York and met the fellow Texan. They forged an unbreakable bond. “I didn’t know one person when I came here and found out she was raised a block from where my mama grew up in Fort Worth. She was the only person I met who I thought didn’t talk with an accent.” The two have been great pals ever since.

Shirley MacLaine stops by Michael’s

Southern belle Deb, who has written two fabulous books on New Orleans including the gorgeous Stealing Magnolias: Tales from a New Orleans Courtyard, surprised Liz with one of the most unusual birthday cakes ever served at Michael’s or anywhere else for that matter, and had a Brooklyn baker recreate the Steel Magnolias armadillo red velvet cake. Ms. MacLaine, as you might recall, was one of the stars of the 1989 film, and she arrived with the film’s screenwriter Robert Harling to jazz up the festivities. They departed before Michael’s staff paraded through the dining room with the life-size armadillo on a platter, raising  more than a few eyebrows. Clearly thrilled by the gesture, Liz was served the head of the baked beast while the rest of the guests dug into the ‘carcass.’ Mmm… yummy.

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The ‘Cosmo 100′ Starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Jessica Seinfeld; The Wednesday Crowd with Star Jones and Doris Kearns Goodwin

1003_mockup.gifAs you probably know by now, only the most extreme circumstances could keep the faithful from their usual lunch at Michael’s. Since Mother Nature proved to be too formidable a force for us on not one, but two back-to-back Wednesdays, we were only too happy to pull double duty this week.

On Monday, I attended the estrogen-fueled lunch for “The Cosmo 100,” a gals-only power lunch hosted by Joanna Coles who, having been named EIC of Cosmopolitan mere weeks ago, put together a guest list to end all guest lists for her first event. When I arrived  a few minutes before noon, the paparazzi was lined up to capture the arrival of Sarah Jessica ParkerDiane von Furstenberg, Ali Wentworth, Jennifer Westfeldt and Jessica Seinfeld, who seemed to be channeling MC Hammer in some curious gold lame harem pants. Also in attendance: ABC News’ Deborah Roberts, model Carol Alt, bestselling author Jane Green and more A-list Gotham gals than I’ve seen in one place in ages. Hearst’s amazing PR team headed by Deb Shriver, Alexandra Carlin and Holly Whidden deserve some major kudos. I was seated at a fabulous table with Cathie Black, modeling icon Pat Cleveland and Barbara Taylor Bradford, who told me her 29th book will be published early next year. The mind reels.

When the A-list crowd made their way to the Garden Room, Joanna (who was rocking some gorgeous leather pants) greeted everyone with her trademark cheeky humor, telling us she’d prepared ‘binders of men’ as research for her new gig and then quoting Margaret Thatcher with the wise words, ‘Cocks crow but it’s hens that lay the eggs.’ She also advised us “never to underestimate what you can do in 10 minutes.” So true. But Joanna wanted to do more than celebrate fun, fearless females at her kick-off lunch; she surprised everyone by introducing some truly formidable women who’d broken through the glass ceiling during this election cycle. New Hampshire’s first female governor Maggie Hassan talked of having her daughter run her winning campaign, Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu elected to congress explained how she won her race in Hawaii by proving wrong the naysayers who told her “it wasn’t her time,” and Grace Meng, the first Asian-American elected to congress from New York, spoke of the need for women to be mentors to other women. It was truly one of the most inspiring events I’ve attended in a long, long time.

Marcy Syms and Diane Clehane

Marcy Syms and Diane Clehane

Today, I was joined by another trailblazer Marcy Syms, who you must know from those commercials for the legendary off-price retailer (“An educated consumer is our best customer”).  It was Marcy’s father, the late Sy Syms who founded the business in 1958 as the first national retailer to sell off-price men’s clothing. At first, it was Sy who gave voice to the slogan in 1974, but he wisely asked Marcy to take his place in 1978 thus tapping into an emerging public consciousness about working women. The rest, as they say, is history.  ”I still remember wearing those bow blouses and those short haircuts!” said Marcy.

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Fred Santarpia Named Chief Digital Officer of Condé Nast Entertainment

Fred Santarpia has been named executive vice president, chief digital officer of Condé Nast Entertainment. Santarpia comes to Condé from VEVO, where he served as general manager since 2009. Prior to that he worked at Universal Music Group from 2002 through 2007; most recently as the company’s Global Digital Initiatives head of operations.

“Fred was a key executive and played an instrumental role in building VEVO, one of the most successful and groundbreaking digital businesses,” said Dawn Ostroff, president of Condé Nast Entertainment. “His knowledge and expertise will be extraordinary assets as we build and extend our iconic brands onto various digital platforms.”

Santarpia will begin at Condé July 2 and report to Ostroff.

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