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Shining a Spotlight on Paperny Entertainment New York: Lynne Kirby

December 15, 2011


Photographer: John Christie


Building on its recent successes in lifestyle television, Paperny Entertainment continues to grow from strength to strength.  Our latest endeavour is the recent opening of our new offices in New York City, at 242 W. 30th Street.  At the helm is our EVP, Programming, the energetic and talented Lynne Kirby,  most recently a Senior Programming Consultant at the Discovery group of channels. A graduate of UCLA Film and Television Studies, Universite Sorbonne NouvelleUNC-CH, and Binghamton University.  Lynne has a wealth of experience and knowledge, and is incredibly well-connected in the Big Apple.


We caught up with Lynne this past weekend at home on the upper West Side, where she was relaxing with daughter Ches and husband Neil.


Lynne Kirby


Your first job in broadcasting was at the age of 32. What got you interested in a film and television career at that point?


I was always a film buff and then student of both film and TV. While living in TV land – Los Angeles – I found myself out of scholarships and began doing odd jobs in film and TV to support myself through the end of grad school.  One thing led to another and by the time I was done with my degree, I knew I wanted to take all that formal learning and exercise it in a creative environment.  Plus I had good friends in London who had been academics and then transitioned to television, which inspired me to make the leap. An opportunity to work in programming at KCET in LA presented itself as I was finishing my degree and I never looked back.


 Prior to joining the Paperny Entertainment team, what would you say has been the highlight of your career?


I would have to say being at Sundance Channel overall was a career highlight. The opportunity to work with so many great talents and on so many amazing shows AND remain close to the heartbeat of independent film was rare, unique and inspiring. Sundance was a great place to experiment across many genres and with many different types of characters, on a spectrum from commercial to un-commercial.  Combining that experience with years spent in ratings-driven TV has allowed me to appreciate the value of targeting an audience and thinking outside the box.


To date, what has been your favourite television project to have worked on?


Too many to choose from, but among them:



I loved the lifestyle shows we did at Sundance also, from retail to green.  At Court TV I loved my serial killer shows, as most women do.  But there is one I should mention that dovetails with Paperny Entertainment’s past success: a Court TV mini-series called ‘Adults Only: The Secret History of the Other Hollywood’, about the criminal history of the adult entertainment business. Now that was a fun show to work on.


You've worked for a number of Networks over the years. What was your favourite aspect of the job of a Broadcaster


The creative part without a doubt.  Working with producers to shape ideas and bring them to air.  I also loved-hated the ratings part: they are addictive, crack-like and yet terrifying on a bad day.


What are three things you learned from your role as a Broadcaster

  1. Creativity is paramount, but it has to serve an entertainment purpose number one. 
  2. The audience is a cruel, but efficient judge of your effectiveness as an entertainment professional. 
  3. Though the bar is high, there’s always another idea around the corner. But that’s not true of characters: addictive personalities that suit a particular brand are in short supply and yet absolutely essential to most networks’ success. 


Lynne and David


What excites you about your new role as Executive Vice President of Programming at Paperny Entertainment? 


The creative and business opportunities are equally exciting to me. Content will always be king, especially as the platforms multiply and the need for ever-new content grows (something the internet has taught Hollywood).  A company like Paperny that knows how to make quality television within established genres is well positioned for someone like me who springs from the American market to come in and help direct creative to a number of networks, as opposed to just one or two.  I love the ability to craft a diverse slate of shows and go after the characters who will bring them to life. It’s all about finding characters at the end of the day.


 What are your goals for Year 1 in this position at Paperny Entertainment? Your longer term goals with Paperny?  


Year 1 - We want to be on the radar of the various cable nets, and establish a development slate that sparks interest in us as an American company.  By Autumn, we want to get a couple of deals off the ground after aggressively developing the top contenders and tuning into the evolving opportunities the market presents. 


Long Term - We want to be a reliable, go-to player in the American market and become known for high-quality, character-driven and lifestyle entertainment with an American sensibility and for American viewers.  But we also want to continue to evolve Paperny Entertainment’s international reputation, and have the American slate talk to the Canadian and vice versa, with the flexibility to play in both the co-pro and formats arenas.


Photographer: John Christie


What do you see as the advantages to Paperny Entertainment having a presence in the United States, and specifically New York?


The advantages are tremendous.  By virtue of market size alone the US gives Paperny Entertainment an opportunity to expand its core business and more easily amp up its already impressive international profile.  The US is a tough market, the toughest in the world. But it’s also got the most opportunities when you add up not only the dozens of linear networks, but also digital and on demand platforms.  The payoff is long term, however, it takes awhile to establish a presence and gain the reputation for success.  New York presents advantages as the largest media market in the US, and is of course geographically positioned to capitalize on Paperny Entertainment’s growing international business. But the maxim of “if you can make it here” is absolutely true – it’s a demanding market!


You have lived in many places over the years, what is it that you like about New York? 


The energy number one.  New York is a creative cauldron that feeds off of a vibrant, stimulating dynamism you can find nowhere else.  It’s no wonder it is the creative capital of America.  The talent pool is incredible and deep and we are constantly colliding with it in productive ways that generate fresh thinking.  And if you are playing in the lifestyle arena, you can’t beat New York for the best in fashion, food, design, entertainment in general, and – let’s be honest -- personality.


When Lynne isn’t working, she spends times with family; and enjoys movies, music, food, travel and, though she hates to admit it, shopping.


Stay tuned next week for another New York Spotlight.


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