EXCLUSIVE: Former CBS Paramount Network TV top development executive Maria Crenna has been named President of Television for Todd Lieberman and David Hoberman’s Mandeville Films. The company has an exclusive deal at ABC Studios, where the company has been based for a decade. Mandeville scored big with the long-running USA Network dramedy Monk, which was originally developed at ABC Studios for ABC, and has been looking to land another hit series. With that in mind, Lieberman and Hoberman launched a search for a new TV executive to succeed Paul Shapiro, who left about six months ago. “We definitely wanted to step up the television activity of our company and met with several people,” Lieberman said. “Maria was definitely uniquely qualified.” Added Hoberman, “It was a great opportunity for us to get somebody of her level to run television for us.” In recognition of Crenna’s extensive, high-level experience, she was given a President of TV title, which no other executive before her had held.
Crenna spent more than 11 years at CBS on the studio side. She started as SVP comedy for CBS Prods. and subsequently ran CBS’ production arm as EVP until its merger with Paramount TV when Crenna was named EVP and No. 2 executive under David Stapf at the combined studio, CBS Paramount Network TV, overseeing all development. She left at the end of 2008 as part of the recession-related industry-wide layoffs. After taking a few years off, spending time with her family, Crenna recently began pondering a return to the business, and UTA, which reps Mandeville, put her in touch with Lieberman and Hoberman. “I have tremendous respect for them as feature producers; they have a phenomenal pedigree on the feature side, and I will try to help them replicate that success on the TV side,” said Crenna who started at Mandeville on Monday. Mandeville’s feature credits include The Proposal, The Fighter and The Muppets. Crenna was part of the core group of executives who followed Les Moonves from Warner Bros. TV to CBS. Before joining CBS Prods., Crenna spent fiveyears at Warner Bros. TV, rising to SVP comedy development. There she was involved in the development of such series as Friends and The Drew Carey Show.