Gersh Spells Out ABC's Of Biz Dev

By Published on .

Most Popular

Tracy Katsky has been named senior VP-head of HBO Independent Productions, which is now under the purview of HBO Entertainment president Carolyn Strauss. She was previously senior VP-comedy development at Fox, overseeing shows such as "The Bernie Mac Show" and "Arrested Development." She was also a senior exec at Regency Television.

Colleen Seldin has been upped to senior VP-worldwide operations at Miramax Films, reporting to Chief Operating Officer Rick Sands, from VP-international finance and operations. Seldin's duties will expand to cover Miramax's TV and home video units as well as theatrical distribution.

Send tips to the editor

Name: Bruce Gersh

Age: 35

Who he is: Gersh was named senior VP-business development, ABC Entertainment Group in April 2004. He is responsible for all traditional and online business development across ABC daytime, prime time and Touchstone Television, the TV studio that is also a part of Walt Disney Co.

Where he's from: Before joining ABC in 2000, Gersh was a business-development consultant for NBC Enterprises, where he was instrumental in the launch of the NBC direct-response business. He began his career as a tax accountant with Arthur Andersen.

What he's done: Among myriad duties, when ABC sells in a product-placement deal, Gersh sits on the Touchstone studio side to ensure the integration is done organically. In prime time, he has performed this role for integrations such as Sears into "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" and Nokia and Ford into "Alias". He also oversees ancillary revenue streams such as licensing/merchandising, home video and publishing. One of the more creative things he's done is build a business called Shop the Soaps where jewelry is contextually placed in daytime dramas and then sold.

What's next: Gersh has noticed an increased willingness on the part of scripted producers to explore new relationships with brands. "The introduction of reality television has really shown the community that there are ways of integrating product in an organic fashion. Over time, I believe the scripted community will be open to it as long as there are people like we have at ABC/Touchstone overseeing their best interests."

Stock-in-trade: "I don't believe that [our competitors] have people sitting on both sides, overseeing the interests of both the network and the studio. Also, I don't believe that some of the other networks have figured out how to develop businesses off of their integration."