EXCLUSIVE: The era of the Reveille of Ben Silverman is officially over — Howard T. Owens will step down as managing director of the Shine-owned company in June when his contract is up. He plans to spend time with his family while consulting for Reveille through the end of the year. A search for Owens’ replacement is already under way. Owens was Reveille’s first employee when Silverman launched the company in 2002. He was one of a core troika Silverman brought with him from WMA, along with Chris Grant and Mark Koops, who together took over running the company when Silverman left for NBC. Following Shine’s 2008 acquisition of Reveille, Grant became head of Shine International, with Owens and Koops becoming co-managing partners of Reveille. Then last September, a month after Emiliano Calemzuk took oversight of Reveille as CEO of Shine Group Americas, Koops exited and Owens became the sole managing director. (Elisabeth Murdoch’s Shine Group was recently acquired by News Corp.)
Insiders tell me that the decision not to renew Owens contract was a strictly business one and reflects the different management style the company is going for for its next stage as it is moving from the agent and sales skills required early on to build a programming slate to a more producer- and creator-type approach sought for a company that has already established big franchises such as The Biggest Loser and The Office.
Calemzuk called Owens “a visionary, a multi-talented executive and a leader,” and noted that Reveille plans to continue to work with him in the future. “We are going to create every incentive for him to come to us after the summer with ideas and projects, it’s been a pleasure to work with him.” Owens called his experience at Reveille “very rewarding.” But “I think it’s time for new people with a different vision to take it to the next level,” he said.
An instant indie powerhouse under Silverman with a string of hits like The Biggest Loser, The Office, Ugly Betty and The Tudors, Reveille had struggled to generate new series of that caliber after Silverman’s departure. There have been promising signs in the past few years with increased volume of unscripted production, including MasterChef, which is doing solid business on Fox; Shine format One Born Every Minute, which has been renewed at Lifetime; CBS’ Live to Dance; and cable series The Buried Life and Tabatha’s Salon Takeover. On the scripted side, the company has one of its most successful pilot seasons in years with three pilots, NBC’s My Life as an Experiment, Fox’s Tagged and CW’s Awakening.