Thom Beers will be stepping down as CEO of FremantleMedia North America at the end of his contract this summer. Beers, founder of one of the most prolific unscripted production companies, FMNA-owned Original Prods., became FMNA CEO in September 2012, succeeding Cecile Frot-Coutaz, who left to become CEO of FremantleMedia. Beers, who had been dealing with a family matter, remains a shareholder in Original and is expected to continue to be involved in the company as an advisor.
Like with Beers’ appointment 3 years ago, FremnantleMedia is reaching within the company for a CEO successor, naming FMNA’s heads of unscripted and scripted– Jennifer Mullin, EVP, Current Programming, and Craig Cegielski, EVP, Scripted Programming — as Co-CEOs. The two will report directly to Frot-Coutaz and will have a seat on the FremantleMedia Operating Board starting in June.
“It’s been an unbelievable ride and I’ve been fortunate to build an incredibly talented team,” Beers said. “We’ve launched shows in syndication and primetime, premiered our first scripted drama, created Buzzr, the company’s first linear channel, and leaped into the digital content business with Tiny Riot! I’m forever thankful to Cecile for her collaborative style, brilliant leadership and friendship. I couldn’t be more energized about FMNA’s future and I’m proud to pass the baton to two of my favorite powerhouses, Jennifer Mullin and Craig Cegielski.”
Frot-Coutaz praised Beers for making “great strides” for the US operation. “His extensive expertise, creativity, enthusiasm and innovative approach have opened new roads for the company, while building on its foundation,” she said, calling Mullin and Cegielski “perfect successors to Thom.” “They are passionate, driven experts who will lead the business through the next exciting phase and continue to grow the accomplishments Thom made during his tenure. ”
Mullin has been at the helm of FMNA’s unscripted programming for nearly ten years. During this time, she has expanded FMNA’s presence in the game show and reality competition genres, overseeing the game show franchises The Price Is Right, Family Feud and Let’s Make A Deal as well as the launch of the company’s newest syndication entry, Celebrity Name Game, which has been renewed for a second season and just earned a Daytime Emmy Award for host Craig Ferguson.
In primetime, Mullin has overseen Million Dollar Password, American Inventor, Hole in Wall and The Great Christmas Light Fight. She also is bringing Celebrity Family Feud to ABC this summer, a primetime celebrity version of the popular game show. Prior to joining FMNA in 2005, Mullin worked as an Exec Producer at companies such as Telepictures and Universal.
Since joining FMNA as head of scripted in June 2013, Cegielski shepherded the company’s first scripted drama series, The Returned, which launched on A&E in the US and on Netflix globally, and has sold over a dozen projects into development. FMNA is working with Neil Gaiman, author of the urban fantasy novel, American Gods, and showrunners, Bryan Fuller (Hannibal) and Michael Green (Heroes), to adapt the novel for Starz. Cegielski has also partnered Richard Price (The Wire) and Scott Frank (Out of Sight) to adapt the novel, The Twenty Year Death, by Ariel S. Winter.
Veteran TV executive Cegielski came to FMNA from Open Circle Entertainment, an independent television company, which he founded with producing partner Susan Gross. Previously, he was President of GK-tv, a division of Graham King’s GK Films and EVP Programming & Sales for Lionsgate International Television.