Canadian Indie Shaftesbury Films To Launch U.S. Branch & Tap Tom Mazza To Run It

TORONTO, August 30, 2011 – Shaftesbury, one of Canada’s leading creators and producers of original programming for television and multiple platforms, today announced the launch of Shaftesbury U.S., a new division focused on development for the U.S. market located in Los Angeles, California. Effective September 1, former Columbia TriStar Network Television President Tom Mazza and senior development executive Maggie Murphy have been appointed to jointly oversee the division as co-heads, reporting directly to Christina Jennings, Chairman and CEO, Shaftesbury. Jeff Alpern of The Alpern Group introduced Mazza and Murphy to Shaftesbury. “Establishing a local presence in the U.S. is the next important step in the growth of our company,” said Jennings. “Tom and Maggie are exceptional executives who have extensive roots in the U.S. creative community and strong relationships with American broadcasters that will allow us to expand our opportunities in the market.”

With an extensive, 20-year background in television development, production, distribution, research and marketing, Mazza joins Shaftesbury from Cookie Jar Entertainment, where he served as Executive Vice President and Head of Worldwide Television. Prior to that, in 2003, he co-founded Madison Road Entertainment (MRE), a Los Angeles-based company created to serve the branded entertainment needs of the broadcast television and advertising industries. At MRE, Mazza executive produced Treasure Hunters for NBC and Greensburg with Leonardo DiCaprio for Discovery, and integrated Proctor & Gamble, Levi’s, Pfizer, Mars, Wal-Mart, Toyota, and Motorola into numerous television properties.

Before co-founding MRE, Mazza served as President of Columbia TriStar Network Television (now Sony Television), where he directed all operations for the network television division, which was a full service television studio serving all broadcast and cable networks. Series produced during his tenure included Dawson’s Creek (WB), King of Queens (CBS), Family Law (CBS), The Guardian (CBS), Pasadena (FOX) and The Tick (Fox).

Prior to that, Mazza was a 12-year veteran of Paramount Network Television, where he served as Executive Vice President of Creative Affairs and was responsible for all primetime television development as well as Paramount’s roster of writers and on-air talent. While at Paramount, Mazza oversaw some of the most successful franchises in Paramount’s history including Frasier, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, MacGyver, Becker JAG, Nash Bridges, Clueless and Soul Food.

With more than 15 years experience in television development and production, Shaftesbury U.S. co-head Maggie Murphy most recently served as Senior Vice President of Development for Cookie Jar Entertainment, working alongside Mazza. Prior to that, she served as President of Kiefer Sutherland’s Eastside Entertainment, part of 20th Century Fox, where she oversaw development of comedy and drama for television, film and digital media and brokered deals for property acquisition with Emmy award-winning writer Michael Caleo (The Sopranos) and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Lucinda Franks, among others.

Before that, Murphy was Senior Vice President of Drama Development for UPN, where she developed the USA Network hit In Plain Sight with Mary McCormick and helped develop shows with Sex and the City executive producer Darren Star, Black Hawk Down director Simon West, Dawson’s Creek writer Kevin Williamson and Academy Award winner Diablo Cody. She also supervised the creation, from inception to series, for a variety of shows including Veronica Mars. Before UPN, Murphy served as Senior Vice President during the inception of Regency TV. During her six-year tenure there, she helped create and develop top-rated series including Roswell, Bernie Mac and Malcolm in the Middle.

Before joining UPN, Murphy served as Director of Creative Affairs for David E. Kelley Productions, where she contributed to the development and production of series including Chicago Hope, The Practice and Ally McBeal.

Mazza and Murphy will be based at Shaftesbury’s new U.S. office in Los Angeles as of September 1, 2011.