Sundance Channel has brought in veteran producer-executive Nena Rodrigue as head of programming just as the cable network is nearing a greenlight for an original drama project. I hear Sundance brass have narrowed down the field to three scripts, The Descendants, T and Behind The Sun, and is considering picking up one of them straight to series.
Rodrigue has been named SVP of Original Production and Development, effective immediately. Based in New York, she will be responsible for developing and overseeing Sundance Channel’s original slate — scripted and unscripted — reporting to Sundance Channel president and general manager Sarah Barnett. Given Rodrigue’s extensive scripted background, her focus is expected to be on scripted programming. Sundance’s head of programming post had been vacant since last spring when SVP Michael Klein, who oversaw unscripted, left to head alternative programming for Condé Nast Entertainment. “Nena’s deep experience, especially in dramatic television, will serve us well as we continue our strategy of bringing audiences scripted series of the highest quality as well as fresh, unscripted worlds,” Barnett said. Sundance has been making a push into original scripted programming. Its first wholly-owned original scripted series, Rectify, debuts on April 22; mini-series Top Of The Lake premieres on March 28.
Rodrigue did an eight-year stint as head of development for Dick Wolf’s Wolf Films. Before that, she was a producer under a deal at Touchstone TV, SVP of development for Imagine Television, a development exec at Witt-Thomas Prods. and an exec in Fox’s alternative division, working on series such as The Ben Stiller Show.
The Descendants, written by Aaron Guzikowski and exec produced by Sarah Condon, centers on a sheriff policing his hometown and the neighboring Indian community they clash with. T, penned by Anya Epstein and Dan Futterman and exec produced by Ira Glass and Alissa Shipp, centers on a transgender male. Behind The Sun, written by Dylan Gary and exec produced by Stanley Tucci, Steve Buscemi, Wren Arthur, is a 1980s drama about a family whose son is allergic to the sun.