- David Manson (HOUSE OF CARDS) has a new overall deal with FG Productions, where’s going to do the usual developing and stuff. (Word is that the company is absolutely bonkers in love with his FX drama pilot HOKE, so this is a pre-emptive move to keep our hero – no relation to either Marilyn or Charlie Manson as far as we know – in the fold before he gets way too hot for their budget. Munchy congrats, Davey!)
- Jason Aaron (Scalped graphic novel series) has sold that very series to WGN, which is developing it into a TV series for WGN America. (There’s an insider word here too: Jason’s a Prairie Village, Kansas resident who, we understand, is now going to storm the big city. That’s right, he’s coming to – wait for it – Wichita! Congrats on the deal and the new address, Jase!)
- The latest news about Chris Albrecht who, okay, isn’t a writer but certainly has made a bunch of ’em rich as CEO of HBO and, now, Starz, puts the writing deals we talk about her into perspective: Dude may indeed have contributed to the wealth of all kinds of talented wordsmiths, but he himself personally made over $30 million last year just by, well, musing around, it seems to Yer Friendly Neighborhood munchman. Muse me, Chrissy baby! Muse me!)
Here’s the skinny about Starz upcoming original TV programming plans from the man who knows ’em best cuz they were created right there in his incubator-like cranium. Gather ’round, gang, to see and hear The Word from the only network executive our BLLB himself respects. (Well, except for that beating up on his girlfriend business that went down awhile ago. But, hey, what’s past is past, right?)
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Hey, we aren’t making this up. Chris Albrecht is all gung-ho about his network, and not only does he want and expect the best, he’s the most thoughtful, creative executive in the medium. (That one’s per our BL, LB, and who are we to argue?)
So don’t just sit there, call your agents!
Starz Prepares To Develop A Comedy But Will “Tread Cautiously”
by David Lieberman
The project to be announced “soon” will be the first half-hour sitcom developed by Starz since CEO Chris Albrecht took charge in 2010, he told analysts today. (Earlier Starz had comedies includingHead Case, Party Down, and Gravity.) But it doesn’t represent a shift from his focus on dramas.
Albrecht says he plans to “tread cautiously” and won’t “open the floodgates” to hear pitches for comedies that were rejected elsewhere. Speaking broadly about his originals, Albrecht says that “we look at all of these shows as individual businesses.” He’s cool to adding sports. “The investment is great, and the return is de minimus,” he says.
And while he loves documentaries, “they’re found all over the dial” and he doesn’t yet see one that he believes would work for his premium networks.
For the most part Albrecht used his call to reinforce his belief that Starz can thrive as an independent company. He said that Starz has a new deal with MGM for older films in the library, including titles from the Rocky and James Bond franchises.
by Larry Brody
…Is Chris Albrecht of Starz.
Yes, he’s had some funky personal problems, but all my dealings with Chris have been professional and positive. In everything we’ve done together, he has shown himself to be a man of great taste, which is all I think we should expect from a guy sitting in big room in a tall building looking down at the city and giving notes.
Which means I’m interested in everything Chris has to say, including this:
Starz’s Chris Albrecht On Ending ‘Spartacus’ And Launch Plans For New Series – by Nellie Andreeva (Deadline.Com)
At the top of Starz’s portion of the TCA summer press tour, the network’s president and CEO was asked about the decision to end the costume drama Spartacus after the upcoming third season. Albrecht said he joined Starz when the network was editing the first season of the show. “When I saw the ending of the first season, I said: ‘Uh-oh’, Spartacus just exited the franchise; it exited the Upstairs, Downstairs aspect of gladiators and Romans living together”. With the gladiators taking to the hills and the Romans in town, “we had to tell two distinct stories, and that is never the ultimate way to do a TV series”, Albrecht said. The series also had to deal with the departure of beloved original star Andy Whitfield. “Ultimately, rather than trying to string the story with one more argument, one more villain showing up, we decided to follow the historic trajectory and bring Spartacus’ story to an end. Better leave viewers wanting more than diminish the overall impact of the franchise”.
Spartacus creator Steven S. DeKnight, who is under an overall deal at Starz, is already working on his next project for the pay cable network. “Steven just returned from Hawaii where he shot ‘proof of concept’ for a show he’s developed”, Albrecht said. That show is sci-fi drama Incursion, which Albrecht described as “Band of Brothers meets Halo” and involves a lot of creatures.
Albrecht also gave an update on Starz’s upcoming series. Da Vinci’s Demons, which is currently in production, is eyed for the end of first quarter or second quarter of 2013. The series stars Tom Riley as young Leonardo Da Vinci. The Michael Bay-produced pirate drama Black Sails is currently in pre-production in South Africa where standing sets are being erected with the goal to also build one or two boats. The series is looking at a launch in early 2014, possibly inheriting the Spartacus slot.
Marco Polo is “taking more time than the producers thought”. The series is still in the planning stage as “the challenge to make the series in China has proven as formidable as we feared”.
Noir, which just hired a third writing team, “ran into some creative challenges but…I’m very confident Noir will be on, just not sure when”, Albrecht said.