Citing economic reasons, Warner Bros. has consolidated its two network TV production companies and released several top executives from their contracts.
The consolidation, which had been widely anticipated for more than a year, signals a major strategic shift for Hollywood's largest TV program producer. All executive, production, creative and business staffs will now be folded into one division.
The units being consolidated are Warner Bros. TV and Warner's Lorimar TV unit. Heading the new consolidated division, which will be known as Warner Bros. TV Production, is Leslie Moonves, who had been president of Lorimar. Moonves, 43, will oversee a staff of about 160 and a production budget of more than $200 million.
Harvey Shephard, the former CBS Entertainment programmer who became head of Warner Bros. TV seven years ago, will become an independent producer exclusive to Warner. He is being joined by Fran McConnell, who had been senior vice president of creative affairs.