UNIVERSAL CITY, CA, June 5, 2014—Universal Pictures today announced that the studio has signed a two-year first-look production agreement with Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage’s Fake Empire banner. The announcement was made by Co-Presidents of Production Peter Cramer and Jeffrey Kirschenbaum.
Schwartz and Savage are currently writing and will produce the studio’s live-action feature Monster High, based on the hugely successful Mattel franchise of the same name, with producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. Most recently for Universal, they produced Endless Love, alongside Scott Stuber and Pamela Abdy. On the television side, Fake Empire is behind such hits as CW’s Gossip Girl (2007-2013), NBC’s Chuck (2007-2012) and Fox’s The O.C. (2003-2007). They are currently in production on The Astronaut Wives Club, which ABC picked up for a 10-episode straight-to-series order earlier this year and CW’s Hart of Dixie, which was recently renewed for a fourth season.
“Josh and Stephanie’s ability to generate quality entertainment with a particular appeal for younger audiences has fuelled their success, and we look forward to working with them as they expand their film presence,” said Cramer.
“Their voice and creative instincts as writers and producers will be invaluable on projects such as Monster High, which has a significant fan following,” added Kirschenbaum. “Josh and Stephanie are true storytellers at heart and we are looking forward to collaborating with them on some exciting projects in the pipeline.”
“We already feel at home at Universal,” said Schwartz and Savage in a joint statement. “We’ve had a great time developing Monster High and producing Endless Love. We’re impressed with the creativity and leadership at the studio and look forward to continuing our relationship with Jeff Shell, Donna Langley and their amazing team, including Jeff Kirschenbaum and Peter Cramer, as well as the best marketers in the business.”
Schwartz and Savage, including Lis Rowinski who oversees the motion picture business for Fake Empire, will be housed on the Universal lot. As a part of the move, Lynley Bird will be promoted to creative executive. Prior to Fake Empire, Bird was a creative executive at Illumination Entertainment.
Schwartz, Savage and Fake Empire were represented in the deal by WME and attorney Joel McKuin.