EXCLUSIVE: As part of FremantleMedia Enterprises’ efforts to beef up its scripted portfolio, the company has signed a first-look deal with film and TV producer Barry Josephson’s production company, Josephson Entertainment. As part of the deal, Josephson Entertainment has hired a TV development executive: Disney Channel’s Tia Maggini is joining as VP for Television. She will focus on developing new drama projects for U.S. cable networks and the global marketplace, working alongside Jeff Tahler, FME’s SVP Global Content, and Tony Optican, SVP Scripted Programming for FremantleMedia North America. Josephson is already in business with Fremantle — the two are producing a couple of projects together, including sci-fi action drama The Dover Agenda, a sci-fi thriller from writer Brett Conrad (Sons Of Anarchy), which is in development at Syfy. “U.S. cable drama is now the most consistently compelling content anywhere on television,” said David Ellender, Global CEO of FME. “Having identified the opportunities that exist on these networks, FME is partnering with the industry’s most prominent talent in order to help create high-quality dramas that not only work for U.S. audiences but which also have worldwide appeal.” FremantleMedia has first-look deals with Mike Tollin’s Tollin Prods and Pukeko, the TV division of Richard Taylor’s Weta Workshop.
Josephson executive produces veteran Fox procedural Bones, which is coming back for an eighth season in the fall. He also has projects in development at TNT and AMC. Maggini comes from Disney Channel Original Movies, where she was responsible for acquiring new projects for the channel.
FME’s scripted portfolio includes upcoming TBS dramedy series Wedding Band, produced by FMNA; Hit & Miss for UK’s Sky Atlantic, created by Paul Abbott’s production AbbottVision; as well as a number of projects in development at various U.S. cable networks. While cable is the company’s primary focus, Fremantle also is involved in the world of international co-financing, co-productions and cross-border arrangements.