Optican Opts in at Fremantle


Hey Hollywood – if you haven’t noticed, Fremantle’s hiring.

Yesterday, Rob Clark was named president of Fremantle Media Worldwide entertainment. Now Fremantle Media North America has hired Tony Optican as senior vice president of scripted programming for FremantleMedia North America, said Cecile Frot-Coutaz, FMNA’s CEO. Optican, whose name sounds like a company all on its own and thus is confusing me, will report to Eugene Young, FMNA’s chief creative officer.

B&C’s Melissa Grego first reported that FMNA was looking for such a person back in her March 2 installment of Mel’s Diner, and then Variety reported that FMNA was officially jumping into the scripted arena on the eve of this year’s MIP conference.

In his new position, Optican will oversee all FMNA’s scripted programming, an area into which the company is just expanding. He’ll also supervise the adaptation and sale of British scripted formats from FMNA’s library.

Optican brings sterling programming credentials, particularly in the hot sci-fi genre. (If you question me on that, let me refer you to three things: Star Trek’s $80 million opening weekend, Fringe’s season two pick up and Lost’s resurgence as a TV show of obsession.) Prior to joining FMNA, Optican was senior vice president of original programming for NBC Universal’s Sci Fi Channel, where he developed and oversaw shows such as Eureka, Stargate Atlantis and Tin Man.

Prior to that, he was vp of current programming at Fox from 1999 to 2003, overseeing such shows as 24, Fastlane, The X-Files, Ally McBeal, MADtv and Dark Angel.

Before joining Fox, Optican was executive director of creative affairs at MGM Worldwide Television Group, where he worked in development and current programming, launching and supervising series including Stargate SG-1, The Outer Limits and The Magnificent Seven.

P.S. Unfortunately, I don’t have time to give every job change its due here on the blog but I am putting a lot of quick hits on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BCFates. Sign up to follow Fates!