'This is the second Golden Age of television,” says John Morayniss, the CEO of
EOne Television, which develops, produces and distributes all types of
television series. He is on his way to Jerusalem for INTV, the second annual
conference on innovative television sponsored by the Keshet Media Group, which
will take place in Jerusalem at YMCA on November 4 and 5.
will feature 26 speakers from the international television industry. The keynote
speaker will be Bob Greenblatt, the chairman of NBC Entertainment, who in his
previous position as president of Entertainment for Showtime Networks oversaw
such hit shows as Dexter and Weeds.
In addition to Greenblatt and
Morayniss, the speakers’ list features Avi Nir, the CEO of Keshet and Gideon
Raff, the creator of the Israeli series, Prisoners of War, which was adapted
into Showtime’s Homeland.
There will also be television executives and
producers from around the world, including Sandra Stern, the COO of Television
for Lionsgate (whose productions include Mad Men, Anger Management and Orange is
the New Black); Marc Korman, partner and agent for WME Entertainment’s literary
development division, whose clients include the creators of Law & Order and
Glee, and Rick Rosen, board member and head of television development at WME
Entertainment; Caryn Mandabach, the creator of Nurse Jackie; and Gary Carter,
the chairman for Northern Europe of the Shine Group UK.
that this is the perfect moment for such a conference.
“It’s like the
second coming of television. That whole independent feature world, where
adults could go to see interesting movies, is gone and everything has moved to
TV,” Morayniss explains. His company, EOne, is the international distributor of
The Walking Dead, and Morayniss has executive producer credits on dozens of
series, including Rookie Blue and Haven. “Every so often you get a Walking Dead
episode that’s as big as Sunday night football, that gets higher ratings than
everything on [non-cable] broadcast television.”
One, which is based in
Los Angeles and Toronto (Morayniss lives in California but started out in
Canada), has its own development teams.
“Sometimes, someone pitches us
something, sometimes we generate something internally, and sometimes, like with
The Walking Dead, we play the role of a distributor.”
Morayniss, who runs
the TV group for the EOne Studio, is as excited about the changes in the
entertainment industry (“Sometimes you roll out something slowly, sometimes you
distribute all at once”) as he is about his first visit to Israel.
wanted to visit since high school, but it’s never worked out – until now. “I’ve
got relatives in Haifa. And even though I haven’t been here yet, obviously I’ve
always felt a strong connection to Israel.”
Now that Israel has become a
powerhouse in the international entertainment industry, with such US shows as
HBO’s In Treatment and Showtime’s Homeland, and, most recently, CBS’s Hostages,
adapted from Israeli series, it makes sense for a television conference to be
held in Israel.
“It’s all gotten more global,” he says, noting that the
Israeli television series Catching the Sky (Litfos et ha shamayim) that starred
Yoram Hattab, about a family in which the father becomes an Orthodox Jew, is
being developed for two different international cable markets – one in which the
father becomes an Evangelical Christian, and another in which, like the series,
he becomes a more observant Jew.
But while we in Israel may feel as if
the local television industry has been singled out for glory, Morayniss says
“great storytelling is coming from a lot of non-English speaking territories.”
He mentions Amy Poehler, the Saturday Night Live alumnus and star of the series
Parks and Recreation, who is executive producing new show with her brother Greg,
Welcome to Sweden, a fish-out-ofwater comedy about an American executive in
“Most of the cast is Swedish. We didn’t think it would sell, it
was so quirky. So much is about the quality of the writing,” Morayniss
Through his work in television, Morayniss has learned that life can
be unpredictable. He started his career as a lawyer but “hated practicing law.”
However, when his legal work brought him into contact with the television
industry, he saw a different future for himself.
“I love being on the
creative side,” he says.
His advice for young people interested in
working in the television business is simple: “Get in the door
somewhere. Network as much as you can.
People are so open. Build
up those relationships.”