In a move that reflects increased collaboration between Lionsgate and Starz in the companies’ TV business, Lionsgate has promoted Marcello Bellisario to Senior Vice President of Talent & Casting. The move falls under a new long-term agreement that encompasses expanded responsibilities for all scripted casting for Lionsgate as well as collaboration with Starz on their original programming.
In his new role, Bellisario will continue to report directly to Lionsgate Executive Vice President and Head of Worldwide Scripted Television Chris Selak, as well as work closely with Starz President of Programming Carmi Zlotnik. The appointment marks Starz’s first full-time hire in this area, and Bellisario will have offices in both Santa Monica and Beverly Hills as part of his expanded responsibilities for both companies.
“Since joining Lionsgate, Marcello’s incredible knowledge of actors and industry relationships has helped our TV Group develop a slate of award-winning, critically acclaimed series that stand out from the crowd and help define the networks with whom we work,” said Selak. “As our television operations continue to scale and diversify, we are happy to recognize Marcello with this promotion and expansion of his duties, which will be a huge benefit to Lionsgate, Starz and all of our creative talent.”
“We are very excited to have Marcello as part of the team, helping to guide our casting partnerships and decisions,” said Zlotnik. “His eye for talent is incredible and we look forward to our creative collaboration on the Starz series.”
Bellisario held the first head of Casting & Talent Relations position in Lionsgate Television history, a department and Vice President position he created upon his joining the company in 2014. Throughout his tenure, he has worked closely with and supervised the casting of series and pilots for Oscar-nominated producers Jason Reitman and Helen Estabrook (Casual/Hulu), Oprah Winfrey (Greenleaf/OWN), Jenji Kohan (Orange Is The New Black/Netflix), Clyde Phillips (Nurse Jackie/Showtime and Feed The Beast/AMC), Josh Stern and Greg Shapiro (Graves/Epix), Mark Schwan (The Royals/E!), Thomas Schlamme and Sam Shaw (Manhattan/WGN), and Alli Shearmur (Dirty Dancing/ABC). He is currently overseeing the casting of several forthcoming series, such as Dear White People (Netflix), White Famous (Showtime), Dimension 404 (Hulu), Nightcap (Pop), and Manhunt: The UNABOMer (Discovery/Trigger Street). In addition his upcoming projects include Lionsgate’s first series for YouTube Red, Step Up, and the Studio’s TV adaptation of its ground-breaking film and television franchise The Kingkiller Chronicle.
Bellisario’s relationship with Lionsgate began as the studio and network executive in charge of overseeing the casting of the pilot for Nashville, which resulted in an Emmy and Golden Globe nomination for star Connie Britton, as well as two Golden Globe nominations for Hayden Panettiere. Prior to that, he spent four and half years working at ABC and ABC Studios, overseeing the casting of Scandal (Emmy-nominated Kerry Washington and -winner Joe Morton), How To Get Away With Murder (Oscar and Emmy winner Viola Davis), Grey’s Anatomy and Revenge (Golden Globe-nominated Madeleine Stowe).