Fifth Estater

Film Exec Greenlights Her Big-Time Move to TV

Weinstein Co.’s Poster finds her calling shepherding small-screen projects 4/09/2012 12:01:00 AM Eastern

Meryl Poster

Title:

President of Television, Weinstein Co.

Education:

B.A., Tulane University, 1986

Employment Highlights:

William Morris Agency: assistant to president, 1986-87;

assistant to head of casting, 1987-89

Miramax Films: executive assistant to cochairman Harvey Weinstein, 1989-90;

various positions, 1990–98;

copresident of production, 1998-2005

Founder, Superb Entertainment, 2005-11

Creative consultant to Jeff Zucker, president of NBC Television Group and president/ CEO of NBC Universal, 2005-10

Current title since February 2011

Personal: born July 9, 1964; children Ava, 13, and Jedediah, 10

In early 2011, a planned film adaptation of the
Broadway hit In the Heights—which had won the
2008 Tony for Best Musical—suddenly fell apart. It was a watershed event for Meryl Poster,
a 24-year veteran of the movie industry,
who had been working
on the film. She decided
then to shift her focus
on actually getting projects
made and on the
screen—in television.

“When you’re working
on a film, it’s much
more intense, more
emotional, because it’s
a very long development
process,” the 47-
year-old Poster says.
“Whereas in TV, [a creator’s]
vision can be
realized much more quickly.”

Poster joined the Weinstein Company
as president of its burgeoning television
department, a move that reunited her
with Harvey Weinstein, who she had
previously worked with at Miramax
Films for 16 years and who was a persuading
reason for taking the new job.

“There’s a definite comfort factor in
working with Harvey and having him
trust me, and being able to do what I
needed to do, and making the projects
instead of it being bogged down in a
big company,” Poster says.

The Fort Lee, N.J., native studied
English at Tulane University and started
at Miramax Films as the executive assistant
to cochairman Weinstein, after
several years in assistant roles at the
William Morris Agency. At Miramax,
Poster thrived in what she describes as
a culture void of corporate politicking,
where no one was restricted to the responsibilities
of their job title. Within 10
years, she rose to become president of
production, executiveproducing
such films as
Chicago, The Cider House
Rules
and Chocolat.

But in 2005, the
mother of two took some
time off to recharge her
batteries. When she decided
to go back to work
after only four months,
Jeff Zucker, then president
of NBC Television
Group, offered her firstlook
deals with Universal
Media Studio and
Universal Pictures, allowing Poster to
make a desired jump into television.

“I wanted to hire her because she
has fantastic taste and she’s fearless—I
think that’s always a great combination,”
says Zucker, now executive producer of
Katie, the upcoming syndicated talk
show. “I think she has exuded those
qualities in whatever she’s done—film,
television and all forms of media.”

In Weinstein’s TV department (which
consists of two executives and two assistants),
Poster oversees production and
development for series including Lifetime’s
Project Runway and Project Runway
All Stars and VH1’s Mob Wives. She had a
lot of relationships in the film business,
and having moved into TV—where she
originally knew few people—Poster says
her biggest accomplishment has been
establishing the department, “so that
people now think of us for television.”

“Her instincts and fearlessness in this
industry set her apart from her peers,
and she’s really played a major role in
creating and cultivating the DNA that
makes our Weinstein brand what it is,”
says Harvey Weinstein.

While Poster counts Weinstein as a
huge mentor, she also makes a point to
be a role model to younger women in the
industry now that she is in a senior position.
Poster, who will be a featured panelist
at B&C’s Women of New York event
on April 10, says she advises women not
to make any excuses for being who they
are. “[Coming up] it wasn’t so commonplace
to be married and have kids and
to function in running a department,”
says Poster, who is now divorced. “It’s really
now taken for granted, but it wasn’t
when I was first starting out.”

Nowadays, she finds her interests are
the same as her children’s, who both love
to perform and are involved in theater
(though she says she won’t get them an
agent). Her kids’ tastes even extend to
her TV habits; Poster tunes into Project
Runway with her daughter and watches
WWE Smackdown with her son in their
home on New York’s Upper West Side.

And though Poster reflects on her
time in film fondly (the movie posters
of her favorite projects still decorate
the walls of her Tribeca office), for the
most part, she doesn’t miss working for
the silver screen.

“Once in a while if I read a book
or see a play, I’m a little bit jealous if
someone picks it up and they’re going
to do it,” she says, adding, “I would
love to still make In the Heights.”

E-mail comments to
amorabito@nbmedia.com
and follow her on Twitter:
@andreamorabito

Meryl Poster

Title:

President of Television, Weinstein Co.

Education:

B.A., Tulane University, 1986

Employment Highlights:

William Morris Agency: assistant to president, 1986-87;

assistant to head of casting, 1987-89

Miramax Films: executive assistant to cochairman Harvey Weinstein, 1989-90;

various positions, 1990–98;

copresident of production, 1998-2005

Founder, Superb Entertainment, 2005-11

Creative consultant to Jeff Zucker, president of NBC Television Group and president/ CEO of NBC Universal, 2005-10

Current title since February 2011

Personal: born July 9, 1964; children Ava, 13, and Jedediah, 10

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