Fremantle thriving in tough times


Here’s a maxim I’m hearing a lot lately: people make their money in recessions.

The catch, of course, is you still have to have money to make money. While most of Hollywood is retrenching and looking for ways to cut costs, FremantleMedia North America, producer of American Idol, is hiring and expanding. Perhaps Cecile Frot-Coutaz, the company’s understated CEO, is taking that old maxim to heart.

Donna Redier Linsk has been named chief operating officer, in charge of finance, production, legal and business affairs. Redier Linsk also will have a range of responsibilities where Idol is concerned.

Idol’s a business with which Redier Linsk already is familiar: she joins Fremantle from Fox, where she was senior vice president of business affairs and alternative production. There, she was responsible for all business and production issues related to Fox’s reality shows – including Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader, Hell’s Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares – and specials, such as the Teen Choice Awards, the NAACP Image Awards and the 59th Annual Emmy Awards.

Redier Linsk graduated with honors from UC Santa Barbara and received her law degree from Hastings College of Law at UCSF in 1991.

Fremantle also is pushing ahead with its plans to expand into scripted programming, promoting Maureen Fitzpatrick to oversee the company’s comedy development. She’ll be in charge of both developing original comedies as well as adapting existing British comedies.

Prior to this promotion, Fitzpatrick has been Fremantle’s senior vice president of digital content and development. In that position, she created and oversees the company’s original comedy portal, Atomic Wedgie.

 Fitzpatrick hails from St. Paul, Minn., and holds a BA in broadcast communications and political science from Marquette University.