Busy unscripted TV production outfit 44 Blue has named veteran business exec Lee Straus as executive VP and head of business and legal affairs. In his new role, Straus will coordinate all legal and business affair functions for the banner behind shows ranging from Animal Planet’s “Pitbulls and Parolees” to A&E’s “Wahlburgers” to NBC’s “L.A. Fire & Rescue,” from producer Dick Wolf.
44 Blue is now part of North Road Co., a new venture from Peter Chernin that aspires to be a new mini-major with an emphasis on unscripted and documentary content for the global market. 44 Blue, founded in 1984 by husband-and-wife producing partners Rasha Drachkovitch and Stephanie Noonan Drachkovitch, was acquired by North Road in 2022.
“After many years of working together, we’re thrilled to have Lee join 44 Blue,” said Drachkovitch and Noonan Drachkovitch, CEOs and founder of 44 Blue. “With his deep relationships in the industry and diverse experience across multiple genre and business models, Lee is the ideal executive to help continue 44 Blue’s growth as we enter our fourth decade and begin this exciting new chapter with the North Road Company.”
Straus previously worked at NBC entertainment executive for more than two decades, rising to executive VP of bsuiness affairs for alternative and reality programming from NBC, Universal Television Alternative Studio and NBCUniversal’s first-run syndication group. In this role, Straus helmed deals for programs like NBC’s “The Voice,” “The Kelly Clarkson Show,” “America’s Got Talent” and “American Ninja Warrior.”
“I couldn’t be more thrilled for this incredible opportunity to join 44 Blue and Words+Pictures, where I have the ability to apply all of my experience in the unscripted landscape to be a creative business leader, as these two production companies, along with North Road, continue to innovate and produce best-in-class content,” Straus said.
In additon to his executive roles, Straus has been an adjunct professor at Loyola Marymount University’s law school since 1998 teaching television-focused law and business courses.