(July 28, 2000 – Los Angeles, CA) – Warner Bros. Television (WBTV) and Home Box Office (HBO) have signed a multi-year deal to jointly oversee the television workspace in Hollywood formerly known as the HBO Workspace. Drawing on HBO’s extensive relations in the comedy arena and WBTV’s development expertise and roster of writers, the newly-named HBO Warner Bros. Television Workspace will be used by the companies’ executives to screen comedy projects and talent for possible series development and production for the broadcast and cable networks. Chris Albrecht, President, HBO Original Programming and Peter Roth, President, Warner Bros. Television announced the deal today. “We’re thrilled to be working with HBO, which has earned a well-deserved reputation for discovering and nurturing comedic talent,” said Roth. “Teaming with WBTV on this made a lot of sense,” said Albrecht. “Their strength in finding and signing A-list writers complements our expertise in talent development.” Gary S. Mann, formerly head of talent development at HBO Independent Productions and producer of talent for the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival for the past four years, has been named producer of the Workspace. He is responsible for seeking out talent nationwide and developing acts around which television series can be created. In addition to acts who will appear at the Workspace, Mann will seek out traditional stand-up comedians for potential development. Russell Schwartz, Executive Vice President, Creative Affairs, Business and Planning for HBO Independent Productions will oversee the new venture for HBO, working closely with Lowell Mate, Vice President, Comedy Development, who will oversee the Workspace for Warner Bros. Television. Schwartz, who continues to report to Albrecht, is also responsible for overseeing HIP’s production of “Everybody Loves Raymond” for CBS, as well as other HIP projects. When appropriate, the venture will take acts to the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival and will maintain a close working relationship with the Festival in viewing and finding talent. HBO Independent Productions (HIP), a division of Home Box Office, was created in 1990 to develop and produce original comedy series for broadcast and cable networks. HIP currently produces the Emmy-nominated series “Everybody Loves Raymond” for CBS and has also produced “Martin,” “Roc” and “The Ben Stiller Show” for FOX.
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