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[CABLE TV] TBS's Christy Kwon Kreisberg

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  • madchinaman
    Up the Ladder For Turner s Kreisberg, success comes naturally —one step at a time By Anne Becker -- Broadcasting & Cable, 5/30/2005
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 15, 2006
      Up the Ladder
      For Turner's Kreisberg, success comes naturally —one step at a time
      By Anne Becker -- Broadcasting & Cable, 5/30/2005

      Christy Kwon Kreisberg hunts for hits for TBS. But her own story
      about getting into the biz sounds a lot like the big Steven
      Spielberg limited series airing this summer on sister net TNT: Into
      the West.

      Kreisberg, VP of original programming/series at Turner's TBS, was
      reared in St. Louis and never thought she would end up in Los
      Angeles. But after graduating with a degree in English from Boston
      College, she followed a TV job lead from a friend of a friend out

      "It was completely one of those things where I just headed west,"
      says the comedy guru and mother of two. "I came out here and fell in

      After stints as a segment producer and researcher for Kushner-Locke
      Co. and coordinator for sports agency IMG, she moved on to assisting
      the VP of television production at Dick Clark Productions from 1992
      to 1994. Working on shows like The Golden Globe Awards, she met a
      treasure trove of VIPs—executives at ABC, NBC, CBS—and her husband,
      who is a TV director.


      She was recruited for a junior-executive position at NBC
      Entertainment and, after a year of interviewing, she joined the
      network at its prime as director of specials, prime time series and
      late night. In her small department, Kreisberg played a big role in
      overseeing including The 50th Annual Emmy Awards. She also got to
      help produce such shows as Seinfeld, then considered an alternative
      program for its heavy reliance on standup.

      A few years later, she jumped to cable. She joined TBS in Los
      Angeles in 1999 as director of original programming/series at a time
      cable originals were still fairly few and far between.

      "I did a little homework and thought it might be a great opportunity
      to start in the cable business, especially if I could be there at
      the beginning," Kreisberg says.

      The risk paid off. After an initial foray into originals with
      Ripley's Believe It or Not! and Outback Jack, both of which
      Kreisberg helped develop and produce, TBS has found a niche with
      comedy, and top talent, such as David and Courteney Cox Arquette,
      now seek out the network to produce their shows.

      New projects include the second installment of The Real Gilligan's
      Island, July's reality series Minding the Store and this fall's docu-
      spoof Daisy Does America, from Coquette Productions.

      "In cable, you take more risks than in broadcast," Kreisberg
      says. "We're more able to change and move and make decisions after
      we see what the product brings."

      Kreisberg, 39, takes three pitch meetings a day—one in the morning
      and two in the afternoon. In her search for strong comedic concepts
      or characters, she has seen proposals as strange as a highly
      conceptualized special on the history of duct tape.

      "I remember thinking there was a hidden camera in that meeting," she
      jokes. "But over the years, I've learned I'd rather see a producer
      be really passionate—get it, breathe it, know the story—than come in
      with 17 projects when it's just volume to them."

      Says her boss Steve Koonin, executive VP/COO for TBS and
      TNT, "Christy has been a driving force behind TBS' success with
      original series. We are very lucky to have her in our corner as she
      continues to take TBS to new heights."

      Kreisberg says balancing the job with being a mom to daughter and
      son, ages 4 and 7, respectively, is a constant struggle—but she
      wouldn't have it any other way. She regularly drives morning
      carpool, taking work calls from the car.

      In fact, Kreisberg has found Turner to be a mom-friendly place to
      work. Her children visit the office often, and the company's working
      moms trade tips on how to balance family and work.

      "We commiserate and share our triumphs and struggles," she says. "I
      have an incredible support system."

      "I probably wouldn't know what to do if I wasn't working because I
      love my job," Kreisberg says, "but it's a constant juggling act."

      Her advice to women comes from her own mentor, Linda Mancuso, the
      late head of programming for ABC Family and an NBC veteran

      "She always said to me, 'Don't ever think you can't have a job a man
      has or get paid as much as a man even though people will tell you
      can't,'" Kreisberg remembers. "Bite the bullet in the beginning if
      it means being a runner or a production assistant for a week, six
      months, a year. Do it, meet a ton of people, and keep going and
      going and going. People do succeed."
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