Hirschorn Exits VHI, Forms Ish

Michael Hirschorn, who oversaw development of a string of reality--or CelebReality--hits for VH1, is leaving the channel to form a production company that has a first-look deal with parent MTV Networks.

Hirschorn, executive vice president of original programming and a six-year network veteran, will launch the company with a focus on unscripted programming along with VH1 colleague Stella Stolper, senior vice president of celebrity talent development.

Also on board at Ish Entertainment is Chris Choun, vice president, production management and executive in charge of production at VH1 from 2001 to 2005. He will serve as head of production.

Ish Entertainment plans to pursue programming development similar to what has resuscitated VH1 in recent years. Its first-look deal with MTV Networks covers MTV, VH1, CMT and Logo with a commitment for three series.

As head of programming at VH1, shows such as "Hogan Knows Best" and "Flavor of Love" (and its spinoffs) were launched under Hirschorn.



VH1 said Jeff Olde will take over for Hirschorn as executive vice president of original programming and production. Ben Zurier has also been promoted to executive vice president, program strategy at VH1, VH1 Classic and MHD.

"The word 'brilliant' should be reserved for very special examples ... like Michael Hirschorn," said Brian Graden, president of entertainment for the MTVN Music and Logo Group. "He possesses one of the fastest, most vibrant minds I've ever had the pleasure to witness working."

A former journalist, Hirschorn said: "I have been discussing next steps with Brian for six months, and he has been nothing but supportive in finding ways to allow me to grow professionally, while continuing what has been a very fruitful relationship."

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