In its second full development cycle, Working Title Television has sold six series projects in broadcast and cable. This is the largest slate in the 21-month history of the TV production company, a joint venture between NBCUniversal International and Working Title Films’ Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner that in July tapped Daniel Pipski as its new head. Four of Working Title TV’s six projects are at NBC and Universal Television, which have a first-look deal with the company through the joint venture arrangement: dramas We, The Potters written by David Sussman, McMafia written by Matt Johnson & John Turman and Gypsy Tea Room written by Chris Monger, and comedy My Nuclear Family penned by Lucy Dahl. Universal TV also produces The Outside Man, a light drama Working Title TV has in the works at NBCU’s flagship cable network USA with Matt Johnson and John Turman writing. The company’s remaining project, thriller drama Off The Grid, was set up at ABC before the recent relaunch of the former NBC production arm as a full-fledged studio producing for all networks, so it will be shepherded through ABC Studios.
Working Title Television’s goal is to take the company’s sensitivity on the feature side and “put it into television and make programs and series that carry the Working Title brand to a different level,” Bevan said. Along with its brand, Working Title is transitioning to TV many of the writers it works with in features. “We introduced NBC and Universal TV executives to a lot of new writers and new voices,” Pipski said. Among the feature scribes Working Title brought in are Sussman, Johnson (Into The Blue) & Turman (The Hulk), Kirwan (The Whistleblower) and Dahl. Additionally, Working Title first optioned British journalist Misha Glenny’s book McMafia as a feature before deciding that it might be better suited as a TV series. In addition to The Outside Man at USA, Working Title TV early this year set up a drama project from novelist Salman Rushdie at Showtime as the company is looking to expand its cable footprint with the appropriate projects while keeping focus on developing for network. Here are descriptions of Working Title TV’s recently sold shows:
We, The Potters (NBC): A one-hour dramedy in the spirit of Adam’s Rib, which follows two candidates as they duke it out in a race for a seat in the US Senate made all the more charged as they are recently divorced and even more recently, sleeping together again… Writer /executive producer David Sussman is with UTA and Mosaic.
McMafia (NBC): One-hour procedural based on the non-fiction book by acclaimed British journalist Misha Glenny, which focuses on the global, borderless nature of criminal organizations in the 21st century. Matt Johnson and John Turman, repped by UTA and Kaplan/Perrone, will write and serve as co-executive producers.
Gypsy Tea Room (NBC): family drama from Temple Grandin co-writer Chris Monger, repped by Neda Niroumand, which peels back the beaded curtain on a storefront psychic operation on Hollywood Blvd.
My Nuclear Comedy (NBC): Described as The Brady Bunch for the the 20-teens, My Nuclear Family is a blended family half-hour inspired by the writer, Lucy Dahl’s, own family which includes seven children, multiple dogs and a pig named Francis Bacon who lives in a closet in the guest room downstairs. Dahl, repped by RWSG Agency and B.E.A.M., will write, with CAA-repped Sally Robinson supervising and on board as showrunner.
Off The Grid (ABC): one-hour off-beat thriller, which follows a mother of three who is framed for a crime she didn’t commit and subsequently goes on the run to the wilds of Northern California. Eilis Kirwan is writing/exec producing
The Outside Man (USA): light one hour drama that follows a former black ops specialist who gets divorced and is forced to go back to spycraft in order to support his children and the two households. Matt Johnson & John Turman will write from their original idea and will serve as co-exec producers.
Shortly after its February 2010 launch, Working Title TV landed a series order for Love Bites at NBC. This year, the company has produced three projects in the UK for the BBC: Birdsong, a miniseries adaptation of the Sebastian Faulks novel; action-adventure TV movie The Borrowers; and half-hour drama Love Life, starring David Tennant and Billie Pepper.