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Investigation Discovery Names Kathryn Vaughan Senior Vice President, Head of Production (TV News Roundup)

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True crime network Investigation Discovery has named Kathryn Vaughan to the post of senior vice president, head of production. Vaughan will be based in New York and report to Jason Sarlanis, president of Turner Networks, Investigation Discovery and HLN, linear and streaming.

“I am thrilled to welcome Kathryn to our team,” said Sarlanis in a statement. “She comes to us with extensive true crime expertise, savvy creative instincts and enviable storytelling skills that we witnessed firsthand after working with her on the recent breakout success of ID’s docuseries ‘The Price of Glee,’ ‘Death by Fame’ and ‘Murder in the Heartland.’  Kathryn’s deep commitment to true crime storytelling will enrich our best in class team and further maximize Investigation Discovery’s offering as the leading destination for true crime.”

Vaughan has more than 20 years of experience working in unscripted genres including true crime, lifestyle and sports. In her most recent position, she served as head of development and current programming at Ample Entertainment, where she was in charge of a slate of documentaries. Prior to Ample, Vaughan served as president of Good Caper Content.

In other TV round up news:

AWARD SHOWS

Sir Patrick Stewart, the four-time Oscar-nominated and multi-award-winning actor, will be honored with the Publicists of the International Cinematographers Guild’s 2024 Television Showperson of the Year Award.

Stewart is being feted for his work in the final season of “Star Trek: Picard,” which saw the actor reprising his role as Jean-Luc Picard, which he originated in the 1987 “Star Trek: The Next Generation” television series.

“Heralded as one of the greatest actors of our time, Stewart embodies the spirit of the Television Showperson of the Year, which honors an individual whose accomplishments in television best represent that special spirit traditionally defined as showmanship,” read the statement.

It continued: “We are honored to celebrate Stewart’s venerable career, including the recently-completed final season of CBS Studios/Paramount+’s “Star Trek: Picard,” in which he reprised his signature role, first appearing in 1987.”

Stewart’s career spans over six decades. A classically trained theater artist who got his start at the Royal Shakespeare Company, Stewart’s performances have garnered three Olivier Awards plus Emmy, Golden Globe, SAG, Critics Choice and Tony Award nominations, among other honors. His screen work includes portrayals of “X-Men” character Professor Charles Xavier. In 2023, he released his memoir, “Making It So.”

Previous recipients of the Television Showperson of the Year Award include Norman Lear, Ava DuVernay, Greg Berlanti, Quinta Brunson, Ryan Murphy, John Landgraf, Shonda Rhimes, Chuck Lorre, Steven Bochco, Aaron Spelling and Bob Hope.

Stewart will receive the award at the 61st Annual ICG Publicist Awards luncheon at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on March 8.

LAUNCHES

The new production staffing website ShoBizzy has officially launched, with advisors from congloms including Netflix, Disney, Warner Bros Discovery, and NBCUniversal. Founded by Doug Weitzbuch (“World of Dance,” “Duck Dynasty”) and serial software entrepreneur Kevin Eberly (“PayYourRent”), the site utilizes algorithms to help staff productions including film, television, commercials, digital and live events.

“ShoBizzy can save productions significant time and money by automatically suggesting the best suited and available candidates for every single position in their production,” the company said in a statement. “This will reduce time spent staffing, eliminate bad hires, and increase exposure to more locals… This is a dramatic improvement from the current process of scouring IMDb, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc to try to find a mutual connection that has worked with the candidate.”

The idea for ShoBizzy was born after Weitzbuch, who has spent 20 years as a freelance producer, wrapped on the Netflix series “Buy My House” and reached out to Eberly, who was a close friend, about coming up with a new way to staff projects.

DEALS

Global media company Studio71 signed an exclusive distribution, ad sales and marketing agreement with Tony Hinchcliffe for his podcast “Kill Tony.” Studio 71 will sell podcast advertising and integrated brand partnerships across audio and video, as well as help Hinchcliffe build out a podcast network called “Golden Pony Podcasts” under its umbrella.

“My entire team is pumped to be working on such a high level and with such huge venues and now an unstoppable advertising force. When Brian Redban and I started working together, we could not have imagined such a juggernaut and we have never been happier now that we are in arenas and our home base of the great state of Texas,” Hinchcliffe said in a statement.

“Kill Tony” has a uniquely influential open mic format and has become a popular attraction for live audiences, selling out two performances at the HEB Arena in Cedar Park, Texas, on New Year’s Eve 2023. The upcoming tour has two sold-out shows at the Kia Forum and the YouTube Theatre in Los Angeles, as well as two performances at Madison Square Garden in New York this summer. “Kill Tony” will play at the O2 Arena in London and other markets in 2025.

The deal was helmed by Seth Jacobs and Alex Murray at Brillstein Entertainment Partners, where Hinchcliffe is a client. Hinchcliffe is a client of UTA as well, and Dinesh Melwani at Mintzserved as legal counsel. Shana Davies, Brian Lieberman and Vadim Dyment negotiated the deal on behalf of Studio71.

“We are very excited that Tony and his team would entrust his wildly successful podcast with us to continue its growth trajectory,” Craig Jordan, senior vice president of podcast brand partnerships, said in a statement. “We look forward to providing him with our bespoke customized services to grow his audience and his opportunities to new heights, earning them greater revenue through increased distribution, marketing, and best-in-class ad sales.”

AWARDS

Henry Winkler will be honored with USC Comedy’s 2024 Oakie Award for Exceptional Achievements in Film and Television Comedy. The announcement comes from David Isaacs, co-chair of USC Comedy and chair of the John Wells division of writing for screen & television and Barnet Kellman, co-chair of USC Comedy.

The award presentation will take place on March 5 at 7 p.m. and include an in-depth conversation with Winkler moderated by Bill Hader. Previous recipients include Hader, Catherine O’Hara, Steve Carell and Mel Brooks.

“Henry Winkler’s indelible mark on the world of comedy stands as a testament to his dedication to his craft, complemented by his infinite generosity and infectious spirit. He has solidified his place as a true comedic icon and we are honored to present him with USC Comedy’s 2024 Oakie Award,” Isaacs said in a statement. “From his iconic portrayal as Arthur ‘the Fonz’ Fonzarelli in the beloved sitcom ‘Happy Days’ to his recent acclaimed performance in the hit series ‘Barry,’ Winkler’s career has been defined by his extraordinary comedic talent. We eagerly anticipate welcoming him to campus, knowing our students will glean invaluable insights from his career and extensive experience in the industry.”