EXCLUSIVE: Brillstein Entertainment Partners has signed a new two-year deal with ABC Studios, which will bring the company’s current tenure at ABC to eight years. Under the new pact, Brillstein Entertainment is reorganizing its TV division. Peter Traugott, who has run the TV unit for the past five years, will leave to form his own production company, which I hear will be based at NBC. Brillstein is coming off one of its strongest development seasons since setting up shop at ABC Studios in 2005. (Brillstein Entertainment’s predecessor, Brillstein-Grey, also had a TV financing deal with ABC in the mid-1990s). The company landed three pilot orders, for comedies My Freakin’ Family and Other People’s Kids at ABC and drama Ringer at CBS, which stars Brillstein client Sarah Michelle Gellar. Ringer went to series at the CW, with ABC Studios pulling out as an active co-producer but retaining passive interest. “We’ve enjoyed a long and close relationship with ABC Studios,” said Brillstein Entertainment Partners CEO Jon Liebman. “We love working with the people there and appreciate the studio’s continued commitment to building our television company.” Brillstein’s most recent series were ABC’s According to Jim, which continues to air in syndication, and Samantha Who?, both of which ended their runs in 2009. While known mainly as a comedy series producer, Brillstein has been looking to branch out, and Ringer marks its second drama series after HBO’s The Sopranos.
As for the ongoing reorganization of Brillstein’s TV division, the decision for TV president Traugott to leave was amicable. “Peter has been part of our company for many years,” Liebman said. “He is a talented producer and our good friend, and we genuinely wish him the best.” Traugott, who has been at Brillstein for about 15 years, served as an executive producer on the Ringer pilot and will remain a consultant to Brillstein on the series. The new management structure of Brillstein Entertainment TV is still being worked out, and I hear Brillstein brass are considering a number of experienced executives with close ties to ABC Studios for leadership positions. Staffing decisions are expected to be be made soon, possibly within a week. “We have some amazing choices,” Liebman said. The future of Rachel Kaplan, who joined the TV division as EVP in 2009, is unclear.