Playing a Part in Cable's Scripted Boon
Shelley Zimmerman, senior VP, scripted programming, Warner Horizon Television
By Andrea Morabito -- Broadcasting & Cable, 6/25/2012 12:01:00 AM
Zimmerman has been a part of WHTV since it was founded in 2006 to expand Warner Bros. Television Group’s program offerings to cable. As senior VP of scripted programming, she oversees the day-to-day development and production of originals, working closely with executive VP Craig Erwich.
“Part of what’s so exciting right now in cable is the tremendous growth of scripted programming,” Zimmerman says. “New outlets are getting involved that haven’t done scripted before, and outlets that have maybe launched one or two shows a season are launching more.”
As such, WHTV has nearly doubled its number of series on the air in the last year, and its new series are some of the most high-profile cable premieres this summer: A&E’s Longmire, TNT’s Dallas, USA’s Political Animals and TBS’ Sullivan & Son. Along with its continuing series, TNT’s Rizzoli & Isles and ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars and The Lying Game, the studio’s resume boasts a wide range of shows on a diversity of outlets.
“It’s incredibly exciting as a creative executive to service networks that have such specific and targeted audiences, and that I get to do it all in one day,” Zimmerman says. “It really allows a tremendous amount of creative freedom.”
Creativity wasn’t always a part of the job for Zimmerman, who started her career at Goldman Sachs. But while her colleagues were reading The Wall Street Journal and Barron’s, she was devouring Entertainment Weekly and Variety. After three years in finance, she took the leap and moved to Los Angeles, starting in the mailroom at agency Endeavor.
At WHTV, Zimmerman wants to grow the output of programming while maintaining the quality that they produce on a lower budget. As for her own career trajectory, the onetime agent definitively sees herself staying on the creative side of the business.
“I was dying to work in a more creative capacity,” she says. “Now that I found it, I’m not leaving!”
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