EXCLUSIVE: Veteran ICM TV talent agent Tom Burke has been named the new head of casting for Warner Bros Television. He will succeed Mary Buck who will retire in May after eight years at the studio and a total of 40 years in the entertainment industry. As senior vp and head of casting for WBTV, Burke will oversee casting for all scripted TV pilots and series produced by WBTV and Warner Horizon. He will report to WBTV president Peter Roth who highlighted Burke’s “passion for television and his taste in marrying the right talent with the right material.”
For the last 10 years, Burke was an agent in the TV talent department at ICM, representing Calista Flockhart, Lauren Graham, Martin Sheen, Shirley MacLaine, Jada Pinkett Smith, Rosie Perez and Dermot Mulroney, among others.
Industry insiders called the hire of Burke “a bold move” as talent agents rarely transition into such high-profile casting executive jobs. When TV studio and network toppers reach out of the executive ranks to recruit a head of casting, they usually go for an A-list independent casting director like Buck, Meg Liberman, who heads casting for CBS Studios, and Lieberman’s former partner Marc Hirschfeld who was head of casting for NBC.
Burke has some casting executive experience from the early years of his career when he served as manager and director of casting at Columbia Pictures TV and as director talent and casting at CBS overseeing telefilms and miniseries. He went on to do stints as director development movies and miniseries at Fox for three years and as a packaging agent in ICM’s movies and miniseries division for three years.