Gail Berman to Leave TV, Online Producer BermanBraun

Gail Berman to Leave TV, Online Producer BermanBraun

Braun will buy Berman’s stake in the company and become the sole owner

Gail Berman will leave BermanBraun, the production company she co-founded with Lloyd Braun in 2007. Braun will buy Berman’s stake in the company and become the sole owner.

BermanBraun operates three divisions – television, movies and digital – reflecting the diverse backgrounds of its founders. Berman was the first woman to hold a top job at both a film studio and a TV network, serving as president of entertainment at Fox and then president of Paramount Pictures. Braun was chairman of ABC Entertainment, where he greenlit “Lost,” before moving on to Yahoo.

Also read: BermanBraun on Moviefone's Revival: We See Enormous Opportunity in a Stalled Brand

Since the two joined forces to launch BermanBraun, they have created websites in collaboration with AOL and Microsoft, including celebrity site Wonderwall, and launched three different YouTube channels — “3v,” “Tasted” and “Cinefix.” They have also produced a variety of TV shows, including “Deception”and “Camp” for NBC, as well as “Junk Gypsies” for HGTV and “Polyamory” for Showtime. None of them are still on the air, but USA has ordered “Dig,” a show about an FBI agent in Jerusalem, to series. The company now boasts more than 150 employees.

“When Lloyd and I founded BermanBraun, we wanted to create a different kind of entertainment company – one that consisted of both TV and film divisions but also one that established a thriving digital division encompassing content and technology,” Berman said in a statement. “It has been exciting to take my years of experience and leadership in all areas of content and apply them to this endeavor.”

Also read: MGM Enters Multi-Year Production Deal With BermanBraun

Berman began her career as a theater producer before moving to TV with Sandollar Television and later Regency Television. She was president of both companies, overseeing shows such as “Malcolm in the Middle.” She also executive produced shows such as “All-American Girl,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel.”

Though Berman announced her departure Wednesday, she did not indicate what she would do next. In her statement she said she was considering “several unique opportunities,” adding she intended to make an announcement about her decision very soon.

Also read: AOL Taps BermanBraun to Reinvent Moviefone

“I am very proud of the business we have built over these past 7 years,” Braun said in a statement. “My partnership with Gail has been a wonderful experience, professionally and personally.  I know that everyone at our company joins me in wishing Gail much happiness and continued success.”

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    My gut feeling here is that there is more to this story soon to unfold: Ms. Berman is likely being courted with the keys to The Magic Kingdom by WDC ceo Bob Iger, who also has a strong “institutional” TV memory of what Gail accomplished creatively at Regency with hit series like “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” and “Angel” for The WB and then at Fox with shows like “Malcolm in the Middle” and “The Bernie Mac Show.” Gail would not just sell her entire INTEREST in BermanBraun without some kind of major penthouse NETWORK PROGRAMMING CHIEF offering — such as at ABC or elsewhere (maybe even at NBC, which still looks slightly stagnant under “Elitist Hermit” ceo Bob Greenblatt) — probably in play right now.

    I don't know much of what has happened in recent years with BermanBraun, but I always got the sense that Lloyd “The Lawyer” is really pulling all of the strings on the “new media” M&A activity and the startups. Lloyd, undoubtedly, has very STRONG business instincts to have built up BB as new media holding company and player in Hollywood (and probably in Silicon Valley too), but he really never had much going in terms of “creative instincts.”

    I do once remember Lloyd running out of an early, internal ABC pilot screening for a first view of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck's “Push, Nevada” and screaming it would be “the next mega-hit for ABC” up and down the hallways. Whoops…NOT! I think Lloyd's biggest claim to fame at ABC was having the moxie and brains to hire Jimmy Kimmel to develop and launch a new “late night talk franchise” and moving “Nightline” up an hour — but that's all I can recall of anything he did that remotely connected to a “smart” programming move at ABC.

    Yep, it really makes sense for ABC to make a run for Ms.Berman because they really haven't had “creative” programming chief since Steve McPherson and probably, Iger, himself, during the mid-1980s. All I know is that Gail has some of the strongest creative instincts and writer-producer connections in Hollywood (too bad the agency flesh peddlers muddy those connections much of the time for network programmers!) — and she is VERY WELL RESPECTED in studio/network development offices and at table reads!

    Maybe she did not feel as challenged being at a new media holding company like BB and possibly handcuffed budget-wise on Traditional Media development there too? All I know is that I'm excited to see that she has been untethered from BB and now a mega-talented FREE-AGENT PLAYER for the TV networks and/or studios to snap up! Go, Gail, go! :-D