The Peter Rodgers Organization is celebrating over three decades of recognition within the industry as a constant, stable and well reputed distributor of quality entertainment properties, acting as agent for over 37 independent producers, international production and distribution firms, legendary producer estates and investment groups who control large film libraries, world wide.
Founded in 1976 by the father of current CEO Stephen Rodgers, Peter Rodgers, PRO is a result of three generation of Rodgers family in the distribution of entertainment, spanning over 100 years.
It is rare when a company has two successful beginnings. Such is the case with The Peter Rodgers Organization, a distributor of television programming to the global markets.
Considered by many as an early television syndication pioneer, Peter Rodgers began his career in television in the late 1940's following his distinguished service in WWII as a lieutenant for the U.S. Army at the Atlas Television Corporation where, as executive Vice President, he was responsible for the distribution and syndication of films and series programming to local television stations.
In the late 1950's, the syndication division sought his skills for Republic Pictures, National Telefilm Associates (NTA), where he quickly advanced from Western Division Sales Manager to Executive Vice President. During his tenure, Mr. Rodgers brought stars from the silver screen, such as Roy Rogers and John Wayne to television audiences around the globe, which included the creation of Republic's international divisions in London.
In 1976, when NTA was formally merged under the Republic Pictures umbrella, Mr. Rodgers established his own company, PRO The Peter Rodgers Organization LTD.
Starting with only five features and one series, Mr. Rodgers proceeded to build his company with the acquisition of feature films, series, documentaries, specials and children's programming. Some of the early programs PRO represented included, Flipper, Gentle Ben, Candid Camera and The Bill Cosby show.
It did not take long for The Peter Rodgers Organization to emerge as an important programming source for television stations and newly created forms of cable TV and emerging laser disc concepts around the country.
Mr. Rodgers pioneered the early formula - now adapted by virtually every independent distribution/syndication company - of allowing local broadcasters the opportunity to "cherry pick" the film titles of their own preference and theme in order to create their own custom movie package.
In addition to the company's distribution activities, Mr. Rodgers served the television production community as a producer's representative, providing consultation on all aspects of packaging, budget, marketing and distribution.
By the late 1970's, The Peter Rodgers Organization amassed an enviable catalogue of over 250 movies, 30 first run and off-network series, including the classic I Spy, Kukla, Fran & Ollie, The Adventures Wyatt Earp, and The Shari Lewis Show.
Peter Rodger's built his company from the ground up, where he remained until his death in 1988 leaving the fate of the company uncertain.
At the time of Peter Rodger's death in early 1988, his 23 year old son, Stephen, had not been working for his father, with the exception of helping his Dad to coordinate PRO's attendance and setup as an exhibitor at the annual NATPE International Conference. It was during that time, and the prior years of his fathers absence at home due to extensive traveling, that Stephen witnessed first-hand his father's dedication to the family lineage and its significance to the business.
Peter's death caused a battle among competing attorneys, fueled by unscrupulous family members, his sudden death and a very dated last will. With the assistance of several of his father's long-time business associates, colleagues and even competitors - whom Stephen had contacted, Stephen, liquidating the little assets he had, was successful in wresting the business from those content with putting an end to the company, as well as the legacy.
Ultimately, Stephen prevailed over the attorneys but the hard work of maintaining PRO's presence in the industry, as well as his heritage, was now ahead of him.
At age 23, Stephen spent his days working his role as an experience journeyman in the commercial heating and air conditioning field, overseeing and implementing the design and installation of systems in high-rise office buildings, multi unit apartment complexes and large multiunit plan residential housing tracts. When his day concluded in the afternoons, he would put away his tool belt, bid farewell to his construction counterparts, and go to his father's office. There he would remain well into the following morning, sitting in his Dad's chair reading piles of legal contracts, documents - learning from his Father, but void of his presence. Stephen remarks that his father's files provided virtually all the guidance he needed to once again begin stoking the fire of the distribution business. Stephen spent the majority of his initial months weighing through the many years of notes, correspondence and contracts, until he felt ready to make his first station sales calls in the fall of 1988.
Along with the help from veteran distribution executives, admiring Stephen's efforts and determination to continue, combined with the emotional support and patronage of those broadcasters whose support stemmed from Mr. Rodgers' pioneering in the late 1940's, Stephen was able to make the transition and keep PRO operating, as it had existed under his father's stewardship. This camaraderie, inherent of early television executives worked, as the local station marketplace and the trust of representation by the production communities embraced PRO's ability to license and distribute proven, well recognized features, series, specials, documentaries and animated programming.
Not only was Stephen successful in maintaining these associations, he also succeeded in bringing aboard new producers and prospects to the company who enjoyed Stephen's straight forward approach and uncanny ability to negotiate mutually fulfilling deals for all parties involved.
Since 1988, Stephen has met the challenge of continuing his father's work and continues moving The Peter Rodgers Organization in new directions. PRO has signed many important distribution agreements with prestigious, reputable and sound clientele, bringing PRO's total library to over 10,000 hours among dozens of entities.
Every day, at any given time throughout the world, PRO programs are being broadcast at this very moment.
In addition to the milestones accomplished by PRO's distribution of television programs and participating in the infancy stages of some of today's most prolific Cable networks, such as Sci-Fi Channel and MTV's TV Land throughout the 1990's, PRO was an initial supplier of programming in the evolving field of In-Home use video and video disc technology. Successfully licensing and negotiating the placement of hundreds of programs in this newly emerging medias and the administering royalties estimated in the tens of millions.
Pro's Pay-per-View horizons expanded as well by way of several highly successful pay-per-view events via DirecTV as well as the provider of exclusive content for the subscription based specialty cable platforms such as Encore Starz! and HBO presentations. Pay per view specials included early performances by Richard Pryor, concert specials by Foghat and event performances from such prominent venues as The Hollywood Bowl.
By early 2000, the Company, acting as producer representatives, began to branch out into the co-production arena, earning the commitments of major cable networks, beginning with the inception of MST 3000 (Mystery Science Theatre) as part of the Comedy Central schedule, then migrating with the series move to USA Networks Sci-Fi Channel.
PRO broadened its scope of distribution throughout the mid 2004 - 2006 seasons with the successful negotiation and co-production of two series for the Discovery Channel Networks throughout this period including "Las Vegas Up-close" themed series for the Travel Channel and "Beyond Tough" a personal project by star of NBC's Law and Order franchise ICE T for TLC.
Throughout this period of cultivating new productions for major cable networks and with the rapidly approaching dawn of new medias, PRO still maintained it's roots in broadcast syndication by way of nationally syndicated first run weekly series, with clearances in 75% of the country on an advertiser supported basis.
With broadcasters switch from analog to digital in late 2009, straining traditional forms of syndication, PRO again seized the opportunity to advance into multi tiered broadcast platforms on a national scale through satellite based networks. PRO's library had swelled to include more time honored TV favorites like, My Favorite Martian, Lassie and The Bill Cosby Show, personally representing the series star and owner, Mr. Cosby who also co-starred in another series controlled by PRO, I Spy (NBC 1967-1969).
By early 2008, the company continued following the demands of the industry and was again called upon as a source of content for newly emerging on-line platforms, forging deals with major content suppliers to Apple's I Tunes and was one of the first independent suppliers of content to HULU, a internet based platform co-ventured by NBC Universal and News Corp.
2009 brought difficult economic times for the industry, but the company's fiscal strength and well established base of broadcasters, cable networks and retail in home entertainment companies maintained PRO's record of prosperity and tenacity, surrounded by others closing their doors.
During this period, PRO's representation grew to include The Fremantle Corporation, entrusting PRO with the North American rights to series, "The Adventures Of Black Beauty" and "The Swiss Family Robinson".
In early 2010, PRO was awarded the exclusive worldwide rights to represent Zorro Productions Inc and within just a few short months, secured a license with A&E Networks on the original 88 episodes that aired on FOX Family Channel.
PRO has witnessed and survived several cycles experienced by the television industry over the past 30 years and has exemplified its capability to remain prolific every time.
PRO's ability to quickly react to changing market demands, well-reputed reliance with its clients and sound business practices has further solidified PRO's favorable position within the industry. A result of over three decades of carefully cultivated trust and recognized by today's largest universally recognized media entities in the world.