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Former NBC executive Jeff Gaspin joins Primary Wave as president

Former NBC executive Jeff Gaspin joins Primary Wave as president
Jeff Gaspin led NBC's entertainment division from 2009 to 2011. (Primary Wave Entertainment)

Jeff Gaspin, NBC's former entertainment chairman, has been named president of Primary Wave Entertainment, an independent TV production studio and talent management company based in Los Angeles.

The appointment was announced Friday by David Guillod and Lawrence Mestel, Primary Wave's co-founders and chief executives.  It's aimed at expanding the company's production slate, which includes the series "Being Mary Jane" for BET, the sci-fi drama "The 100" for the CW and "The Good Life," a reality show for TBS.

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The company has also made the feature film "The Coldest City" and an HBO documentary on grunge rock legend Kurt Cobain.

Primary Wave was founded as a management and music publishing company. It has a client list that includes CeeLo Green and Melissa Etheridge and a song catalog that includes the works of Cobain, Def Leppard, John Lennon and Steven Tyler.

The company acquired the firm Intellectual Artists Management last year with the goal of transforming itself into a general entertainment company. Part of Primary Wave's growth strategy is creating TV, movie and digital projects for the music artists it represents.

Gaspin will take an undisclosed equity position in Primary Wave, which acquired his company Gaspin Media. The production entity has developed and sold TV projects to a variety of networks since 2012, including ABC's "To Tell the Truth," USA Network's "First Impressions With Dana Carvey" and the syndicated series "The Preachers." Gaspin's programs will be added to Primary Media's portfolio.

As chairman of NBC Universal Television from 2009 to 2011, Gaspin oversaw the entertainment programming for the company's cable and broadcast networks. He exited after Comcast Corp. completed its acquisition of NBC. One of Gaspin's last acts at NBC was buying the reality singing competition "The Voice," which has been the network's highest-rated prime-time entertainment program in recent years.

Gaspin told The Times that the timing is right to be a seller of entertainment shows because digital streaming platforms have increased the demand for original programming.

"There is an incredible appetite for content," he said. "It's the saner place to be in a crazily changing business."

Although most of Primary Wave's current projects are reality-based, Gaspin said the company expects to make a push into scripted programming.

"We have the capital and the access to capital to be a small studio," he said.

Gaspin will remain chairman of Tapp, a company he co-founded with former CNN President Jonathan Klein  that specializes in developing streaming video channels.

Twitter: @SteveBattaglio

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