If Josh Bank's life were a treatment, like the hundred or more he's worked on as executive vice-president of Alloy Entertainment, it might go something like this: the tale of a former ad man who gets it when it comes to teen girl angst.

So how does a guy with two young sons, who likes to play golf and watch NASCAR, have such an affinity for tapping into the teen girl brain? Maybe it's the kind of goofiness that leads Bank, 40, to agree to an interview while he's on vacation, which means sitting in a car parked in the only place where his cellphone gets reception. Or it could be the mixture of pride and humility that enables him to pontificate about what teen girls want and then to concede, after some prodding from his staff of mostly women between the ages of 22 and 30, that he doesn't know what he's talking about. No, he admits, he's never been a teenage girl.

Bank became involved with publishing 10 years ago, when his college friend, 17th Street Productions president Les Morgenstein, hired him to head a magazine aimed at helping middle-grade teachers use the Internet in their classrooms. After a short period, Bank moved over to developing properties for 17th Street. At that time the YA market was “pretty moribund,” Bank says. Sweet Valley High had run its course and kids were going back to MTV. When Alloy bought 17th Street in 2000, the goal was to do for YA books what MTV was doing for music. Bank regards Alloy's Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (beginning in 2001) and Gossip Girl (starting the next year) series as the “opening salvos” in the war for kids' entertainment dollars.

Over the past decade, Alloy has had a good track record in selling its book packages to publishers. Bank credits this to the knowledge he gleaned about the marketplace during the five years he spent at a boutique ad agency positioning consumer products like razors. “That experience is invaluable to what I do now,” he says—“high concepts that are sharp and specific, that will appeal to a broad audience. That's something we really concentrate on, understanding what a commercial concept is.”

While the concepts themselves may not have changed in recent years, or the process of sitting down once a week with staff to bounce around ideas—it takes about 100 for one good one—what is different is that Bank and Morgenstein are no longer looking only to books. “Nowadays, we're trying to think of ourselves more as a think tank,” Bank says. “We're not just the book guys. Really what we're doing in that development room is generating properties. If they're books, great. If they're TV show or movies, great. We're even thinking of the Internet.” Alloy projects that are on the screen or headed there include Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Part 2, released by Warner Bros. last month; Sex Drive, based on All the Way by Andy Behrens, due October 17 from Summit Entertainment; and the straight-to-DVD Clique movie from Warner Premiere, with a November 18 release. On the CW network, the second season of Gossip Girl and the first of Privileged (based on How to Teach Filthy Rich Girls by Zoey Dean) launched earlier this month.

Although Bank calls running property development and overseeing creative for the New York office of Alloy his “perfect job,” it's not without its frustrations. Chief among them, he says, is a classic Hollywood one: development hell. “We just sold something to Scholastic that took two years, Butterflies. It metamorphosed, but we got it right,” he says.

Name: Joshua D. Bank

Company: Alloy Entertainment

Title: Executive vice-president

Age: 40

Hometown: Middletown, Conn.

Education:B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College; master's in comparative education, SUNY Buffalo

How long in current job: 10 years

Previous job: CCI advertising agency

Dream job: “I love what I do now because most of my time is spent dreaming up ideas—although I suppose I wouldn't mind being a professional golfer.”

Passionate about: “My wife, kids, and golf.”