While many companies have been tightening their belts since the beginning of the year, Rive Gauche Television has been ramping up the output, expanding its original content development over the past year. This push into more original production and international sales included adding David Auerbach, previously a programming executive at Warner Bros., as president. Realscreen spoke with Auerbach about his plans for Rive Gauche.
Auerbach (pictured) spent 17 years at Warner Brothers, during which time he was involved in overseeing the production of over 3,000 hours of syndicated projects and more than 300 hours of primetime reality programming. ‘It is a long time for a creative executive to be in one place,’ says Auerbach. ‘I always told my children, it’s sort of like being a football coach; as soon as you have a losing season it’s not a question of will you get fired it’s a question of when will you get fired. So the fact that I was there for 17 years I thought I must have been doing something right.’
After working on shows such as The Rosie O’Donnell Show, The Bachelor and America’s Best Dance Crew, it might seem like an odd move to go from a pretty steady job at a big studio to a small prodco, but Auerbach thinks it is the place to be right now. ‘There’s nothing that says unscripted is a major studio gig,’ says Auerbach. ‘I think being small and nimble we can play aggressively in that field.’
Under Auerbach’s supervision since February of this year, Rive Gauche Television has a number of new productions under its belt. Pitbulls and Parolees, a six-part series for Animal Planet in association with 44 Blue, is due to go out in the fall and will follow a woman who runs a rescue center for pitbulls and who staffs the place with parolees, helping both man and beast at once. They have also sold a Tom Jennings-produced 13-part series to Investigation Discovery called The Jones Files which uses the investigative journals of true-crime author Aphrodite Jones to retell the stories of some of the century’s most amazing crimes.
But something new the company is trying is the self-funding method. They’re going that route with a new 13×30 minute series called Stupid Criminals, a clip show featuring footage of criminals caught on camera.
Even though Rive Gauche has ramped up its investment in original productions, its primary function is still distribution, says Auerbach. He feels Rive Gauche’s role in that area is to be aggressive on the acquisition and copro fronts and to provide gap financing where possible. His strategy is also to work toward retaining international rights for more of their projects. ‘One of my strategies is to hopefully go set stuff up in the UK first and then bring it back here,’ he says. ‘So when I go into a network we’re not posturing about the international rights, we’re saying we’re only offering you domestic rights because international has already sold.’