At 35 years old, O’Sullivan has already earned the respect of seasoned production and media execs for his good taste in content and programming, which he started developing as a CTV intern while at Ryerson. There, he worked with the dramatic programming department on shows like Degrassi: The Next Generation and The Eleventh Hour, and was eventually hired on full-time.
As his skills developed, CTV exec Tecca Crosby recognized his talent and connected him with Kathryn Emslie at the CFC, which was just launching its TV Pilot Program to foster the development of Canadian pilots. Emslie hired O’Sullivan in 2005 and he went on to become the program’s manager, working with networks, writers and producers to produce half-hour pilots.
“Soon after we made [the program pilots], everyone started producing pilots. So the program became redundant and we changed it to focus on webseries pilots,” he explains.
O’Sullivan led the transition, developing successful webseries’ such as My Pal, Satan and Seth on Survival and going on to manage the CFC’s NBC Universal Content Creator Program and Primetime Television program.
Moving to the CBC in 2010, he started as executive in charge of comedy development, taking on drama duties when the two departments merged in 2012.
O’Sullivan credits his time at the CFC with building the foundation for the rest of his career.
“You get to know people at a different level and you get experience with writers, producers, agents, unions and guilds, and production suppliers,” he recalls. “You get to know the entire industry and what people want and value within [it].”
Despite having not yet seen one of his CBC projects go to screen, O’Sullivan says he’s hopeful for a few he’s leaving behind in preparation for his next move – launching a prodco called New Metric Media with producer Mark Montefiore.
“We’ll focus on traditional film and TV with an eye to digital,” he explains. “We’ll identify writers we think have potential and try to get some ideas out of them. My focus will be on trying to get TV projects off the ground,” he says.