Bill Berner, partner in Berner & Brill Lighting Design of New York, departed the company September 30. Steve Brill remains president of the newly organized firm, now called The Lighting Design Group, specializingas before in systems design and consulting and project management for television. In related developments, Kevin Moriarty has joined the company as vice president and general manager, and former ABC staff member Dennis Size has also come on board as senior lighting designer.
Berner, meanwhile, has gone off on his own as a freelance designer, and describes his departure as "positive and amicable." "We were fortunate to be very successful," he says. "The down side was that we were working full-time as lighting designers as well as having this business entity to remain focused on. I came to the decision that I had to restore my focus on the lighting aspect, and the best way to do that was as a single operator."
Brill, faced with some of the same concerns, hired Moriarty, a former director of project management at WNET, to concentrate on the business side of things at The Lighting Design Group. "We're growing, it was time for us to move to the next step, and with Bill not there, I'm limited as to how much time I have," says Brill. "With Kevin here, I'm concentrating much more on design." As for Size, "The role of lighting designer in television has been elevated from engineer to designer, and the networks haven't really kept up. I think with our organization, the lighting designer can bring to a task a lot of support that they wouldn't have at the network."
In its eight-year existence as Berner & Brill, the company received five Emmys and worked on such projects as Sesame Street, The Late Show With David Letterman, Good Morning America, Dateline NBC, the 1992 and 1996 Summer Olympics for NBC, and turnkey operations like the MSNBC studio and MTV's new Times Square studio, which represented Berner's swan song for the company. The Lighting Design Group is retaining all of Berner & Brill's clients except for the CBS sitcom Cosby, on which Berner will continue to act as LD.