EXCLUSIVE: Legendary’s president of scripted television Lauren Whitney is leaving the company to join Miramax as President of Television.
The hire is part of the ongoing reorganization led by Miramax CEO Bill Block, who joined the company in April with the goal of ramping up film and TV production to bolster the Miramax film library. He started off by laying off Miramax’s existing TV and film staffs in May, which was followed by an executive search. Whitney will now build her team, bringing additional TV executives. Mining Miramax’s extensive library is expected to be a main focus of the company’s series development .
“We are thrilled to have Lauren join us as President of Television,” Block said. “She is creative, has strong talent relationships, a proven track record of getting shows on the air and an industry leader. I know that her clear vision will launch our production and development and yield a strong slate shows for the global audience.”
At Legendary TV, Whitney oversaw scripted series development, production, marketing and distribution. Since joining the company in 2015, she shepherded the company’s then-just ordered series Colony at USA and Love at Netflix as well as Carnival Row, which had just been set up for development at Amazon. Colony and Love have taken hold and both have been renewed for a third season, while Carnival has been greenlighted to series starring Orlando Bloom. Shows developed and sold on Whitney’s watch include the upcoming drama series The Looming Tower at Hulu, starring Jeff Daniels, Tahar Rahim, and Alec Baldwin; a Lost In Space reboot in the works at Netflix; as well as ABC’s Downward Dog, which became the first network comedy series to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.
“Building an independent television studio is a thrilling challenge,” Whitney said. “Between Miramax/ beIN Media’s sizable commitment to investing in scripted television, and the valuable titles in the library, the opportunities that lie ahead of us are massive. We will be aggressive in our pursuit of the artists and the material that excite us. And most importantly, we will be excellent partners to the talented people with whom we are lucky enough to work.”
Whitney, whose Legendary contract was coming up, had been brought in by Bruce Rosenblum, then president of Legendary Television and Digital Media.
Legendary has been clearing the decks since Mary Parent was appointed Vice Chairman Worldwide Production in spring 2016 by then-Legendary chairman/CEO Thomas Tull. Rosenblum exited right away, he has since joined Disney-ABC TV Group as President of Business Operations. The other key Legendary TV executive, Peter Johnson, who most recently reported to Whitney, left earlier this year to become President of TV Development at MRC.
Whitney segued to the top Legendary TV scripted job from a career as a television agent – first at The William Morris Agency and then at WME – since 1998. She represented writers and producers, and specialized in the development of intellectual property.