HBO seems to be going through the list of shows it may have short-shrifted for being ahead of their time and giving them a second chance. With a new installment of cult 2005 comedy The Comeback in final negotiations, the pay cable network announced this morning that it will be bringing back 2001 filmmaking documentary series Project Greenlight for a new season. It will be executive produced by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, executive producers of the original two seasons. “Project Greenlight was ahead of its time,” Affleck said. “Now that technology has caught up to the concept, we thought it was a perfect time to bring it back. A whole new generation of filmmakers has grown up sharing everything, and the next big director could be just an upload away.” It is worth noting that when the first two seasons of Project Greenlight were done more a decade ago, Affleck and Damon were actors-writers. Now Affleck also is a respected feature director. “Project Greenlight works,” Damon said. “Careers have been launched and sustained as a direct result of this contest. Pete Jones, John Gulager, Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan are just a few of the PGL alums who’ve gone on to do great things in Hollywood, and Ben and I are really proud of that.”
HBO’s Project Greenlight pickup comes on the heels of rival Starz announcing the similar 10-episode The Chair, created by Project Greenlight executive producer and former Affleck and Damon producing partner Chris Moore, as its first unscripted series. The competition documentary series, which follows two directors through the process of bringing their first feature to the screen, premieres this fall.
Spanning the entire filmmaking process, Project Greenlight takes an uncensored look at the challenges facing a first-time director. The show begins with a digital competition, following the winner from pre-production and casting through principal photography and post-production. Equipped with a Hollywood-vetted script and surrounded by a team of industry professionals, the fledgling director must learn to cope with pressure from the studio and producers, survive on-set politics and lead a veteran cast and crew, all while trying to deliver a viable movie – on schedule and on budget. The series will be produced for HBO by Adaptive Studios, Affleck and Damon’s Pearl Street Films, and Miramax. Affleck and Damon executive produce with Adaptive Studios’ Marc Joubert, TJ Barrack, Perrin Chiles and Marshall Lewy, and Miramax’s Zanne Devine.