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TV network heads Greenblatt and Janollari thrive on risks (14958)

14958Entertainment News2005-01-29

TV network heads Greenblatt and Janollari thrive on risks

David Janollari and Robert Greenblatt, gay former producing partners who recently assumed posts as entertainment presidents at the WB Network and Showtime, respectively, are putting their stamps on their networks by taking chances on "risky" programming. "We have to develop and put on shows that no one else is doing--unique, bold, and risky programming," Greenblatt said Thursday morning during a "Coffee With" session at the National Association of Television Program Executives in Las Vegas. "It's more critical than ever before because there's so much original programming out there." He cited Showtime's upcoming series Weeds, which stars Mary-Louise Parker as a mother who sells marijuana, as an example.

Janollari--who with Greenblatt headed the independent Greenblatt Janollari Studio, home to such series as HBO's Six Feet Under--said that he's looking to give the WB something of a makeover. "The goal for me is to take the WB to the next level--reinventing it so that it's more adult, more sophisticated," he said of the youth-oriented network. Janollari added during the discussion that the WB will continue to give the critically acclaimed but ratings-challenged first-year drama Jack & Bobby, from out creator Greg Berlanti, time to grow. "The WB has a rich tradition in being patient and nurturing shows," he said. "We're hoping it'll take off in its sophomore season."

Janollari added that he wants to forge more agreements similar to the one with America Online's AOL Television last year that allowed AOL for Broadband subscribers to watch the premiere episode of Jack & Bobby before its debut in September. He called it an "incredibly successful experiment." Along those lines, Greenblatt said his network is making an announcement soon about a similar initiative with Yahoo! but declined to give details. "We're about to do something in a significantly larger way," he said. "It's a great way to get the word out."

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