After nearly a decade as head of scripted television for MGM, Steve Stark is leaving the studio’s executive ranks. The news comes a year after MGM’s Worldwide Television Group, run by Chairman Mark Burnett, last extended Stark with a new contract in conjunction with him being named President of a new label, MGM/UA Television.
“MGM has confirmed President of MGM/UA Television Steve Stark will be exiting his role,” the company said in a statement to Deadline. “The studio plans to announcing more details in the coming days.”
Stark is returning to producing, transitioning to an exclusive production deal with MGM/UA Television.
Over the past nine and a half years, Stark, a respected and well-liked executive, grew MGM’s scripted footprint with the award-winning series The Handmaid’s Tale and Fargo, as well as Vikings, Get Shorty, Condor, Four Weddings and a Funeral and Perpetual Grace LTD, among others. He turned Vikings, MGMG TV’s first hit scripted series, into a franchise with an upcoming offshoot on Netflix.
Stark had been a rare top executive from the previous MGM regime that had stayed on for years after Burnett took over the TV operation and amid constant rumors about the indie studio exploring a sale. Stark had a team of seasoned executives around him who will keep projects going in the interim.
Before joining MGM in 2011, Stark, whose exit was first reported by Variety, served as President of Steve Stark Productions, which had an overall deal with Universal Television. His slate of series included the USA Network’s series Fairly Legal, and the NBC series The Event. He also served as an executive producer on long-running series Medium, starring Emmy winner Patricia Arquette. Prior to forming his own company, Stark developed Medium while serving as President of Kelsey Grammer’s Grammnet Productions, where he also executive produced three seasons of The CW’s The Game and the U.S. adaptation of The Sketch Show for FBC. As he returns to producing, Stark may finally get a revival of cult favorite The Event off the ground?
Stark’s student project at Northwestern — a variety pilot starring his classmates, including Julia Louis-Dreyfus — landed him an invite to Hollywood to collaborate with producer Bob Banner and syndication veteran Al Masini on a new show. That show became Star Search, on which Stark worked for four years, making his entrance into the TV business.
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