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Paramount Launches 'DVD Premiere' Department

14 Oct, 2005 By: Kurt Indvik

Paramount Home Entertainment today announced the formation of a new “DVD Premiere” department that will produce six to eight direct-to-video films on an annual basis.

The studio has assembled a team that will be led by Ellen Pittleman, SVP of worldwide acquisitions. The first project will be an animated comedy by Mike Reiss, now in production and likely to see its DTV debut sometime in the first quarter of next year, according to a spokesperson. Also on the initial slate will be an MTV project “high-school-set volleyball film,” as well as a sequel to the hit movie Save the Last Dance, produced by Robert Cort, according to the company.

Paramount has been busy in the direct-to-video space lately, and just recently signed a multi-year “first look” worldwide agreement with Parallel Entertainment Pictures, producers of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour Rides Again DVD (distributed by Paramount) for six DVD premieres, a feature film and a new DVD starring Larry the Cable Guy. That deal is unrelated to the development of this new department, a spokesperson said.

“We have seen first-hand the tremendous consumer response to original, quality home entertainment content and recognize the great growth potential of this business,” said Thomas Lesinksi, president of Paramount Pictures Worldwide Home Entertainment.

“We are uniquely positioned to capitalize on the growing consumer demand for original; DVD programming by utilizing the strength of all the Viacom brands to reach this audience,” said Pittleman.

The new group also include: Matt Bierman, VP of development; Jim Glander, VP of production; Stephanie Schroeder, VP of business affairs and legal; Scott Maziroff, VP of finance; and John Wiseman, VP of post-production.

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