EXCLUSIVE: There is a change at the top of production and distribution company Sonar Entertainment, which specializes in scripted series, miniseries and TV movies. Stuart Till has abruptly stepped down as CEO, with respected industry veteran Gene Stein tapped new CEO. I hear the changeover happened yesterday in a company meeting where Stein was introduced to the 50-person staff. As he transitions out of the CEO role, Till will return to the company’s board of directors. The hire of Stein, who will be based in Los Angeles, represents an indication Sonar intends to focus on series. “Sonar continues to strengthen its brand identity as a leading global producer and supplier of outstanding series, miniseries and television movies,” said Gabriel de Alba, Chairman, Board of Directors for Sonar Entertainment. “Gene Stein is a dynamic and inspiring executive who has the vision, the leadership skills and the relationships within the creative community to take the company to the next level.”
Till had served as CEO since the company’s 2012 rebranding from RHI Entertainment to Sonar Entertainment. Before that, he served as interim co-CEO following the 2011 departure of RHI CEO Robert Halmi Jr. There had been rumblings over the past several months about potential issues at the company under Till. I hear there had been at least one senior level production executive departure in the past few weeks.
Stein spent the past six years as President of Television at BermanBraun, exiting in February as part of the company restructuring following the exit of co-founder Gail Berman. He is executive producing BermanBraun’s limited series series Dig for USA. His producing credits at the company also include Camp, Deception and Mercy on NBC, Alphas on Syfy and Accidentally On Purpose on CBS. Before joining BermanBraun, Stein was partnered with producer Nina Wass and based at Touchstone Television/ABC Studios for eight years and had a long tenure at CBS as Director of Drama Series Development, VP of Alternative Programs and VP and SVP of Comedy Development. Stein has written episodes of television programs such as Cheers, Murphy Brown, and Golden Girls.
Sonar is producing eight-part period series Taboo starring Tom Hardy for BBC One, from Hardy, Steven Knight and Ridley Scott. Earlier this week, TNT announced a Sonar project as part of its drama development slate. Fix-It Men comes from producer Mark Gordon, producer/director Joe Carnahan and writer/producer John Glenn.