July 2009

Tastemakers 2009 Eric Shanks

by Samantha Dunn / produced by Mayer Rus / portrait by Scott Council

Eric Shanks It’s all about Shanks—and that’s a good thing if you like some of television’s most promising but short-lived series. Because as DirecTV’s executive vice president of entertainment goes, so go the satellite giant’s more than 10 million subscribers. His aim is simple: Keep quality content alive. He has rescued canceled shows with loyal fan bases—Showtime’s Sleeper Cell and ABC’s Wonderland—and given them another window. With NBC’s football drama Friday Night Lights, DirecTV even shared costs for new episodes—a warm-up for the original programming said to be coming down the pike. Shanks developed his catholic tastes in TV through a peripatetic career that began with the Winter Olympics in Norway. “Right now, I’m starting from scratch with The Wire,” he says. “Maybe that’s one show I’ll be trying to get next.” Stay tuned.