Bruce Gersh, who together with Di Bona launched an independent production company to capitalize on the surging popularity of YouTube videos, said he is departing FishBowl Media Worldwide with the end of his contract.
Di Bona said he and Gersh met Thursday to discuss the future of FishBowl Worldwide Media. After three years of pumping money into the production company, Di Bona said, he was looking for a leaner, more fiscally responsible operation.
"I had to say, 'I think this is the point where I don't think I can fund it as heavily as I did before,'" recalled Di Bona, who is chairman of FishBowl Worldwide Media. "If that's a disappointment, we both have to come to grips with that. Bruce was a total gentleman."
Di Bona and Gersh said they decided to part ways as a trimmed-down FishBowl Worldwide Media focuses on producing scripted and reality series -- and finding new ways to license its library of amateur videos on digital platforms and through syndication.
"All my goals have been met, as far as building FishBowl the way I envisioned," Gersh said. "At some point, you have to build a bigger company or you decide to maintain exactly what you've built and try to grow it at a different pace.
"Vin and I came to the agreement that maybe his pace and mine weren't equally aligned."
In the wake of Gersh's departure, Chief Financial Officer Paul Lapointe has been named executive vice president and chief operating officer of FishBowl Worldwide Media. The executive, who began working with Di Bona 15 years ago, will oversee day-to-day operations, as well as foreign distribution.
Television veteran Beth Greenwald will assume the newly created position of president of creative affairs, overseeing development of scripted and unscripted shows.
Greenwald joined FishBowl Worldwide Media in 2010 as senior vice president of unscripted programming, and produced such reality TV shows as TruTV's "Upload With Shaquille O'Neal" and "I'm Married to ..." for VH1. She currently is overseeing 10 projects in various stages of development.
Di Bona said FishBowl Media will retain its digital presence, with an emphasis on mining its "America's Funniest Home Videos'" library. He said Lisa Black will oversee this part of the business as executive vice president of content and business development.
"We're really experimenting with new ways of trying to get into the marketplace with lower-cost programming," Di Bona said. "That makes sense for everybody."
Di Bona and Gersh met when the younger executive was overseeing digital business for network shows including "America's Funniest Home Videos." The duo launched FishBowl in January 2010 and assembled a creative team with experience developing scripted and reality programs.
FishBowl sold several original series for the Web and TV, and used "America's Funniest Home Videos" massive library of video clips to launch five YouTube channels: Petsami, Toddletale, CuteWinFail, Lindo Victoria Fracaso and AFV.
"I came to build a company -- that's exactly what I've done," Gersh said. "I came to create a solution for monetizing the library, and we're definitely well on our way."