Spike TV has put in development Deep Web, a drama from producer/director Tony Krantz (Dracula) of Flame Ventures, and Gary Oldman and Douglas Urbanski’s Flying Studio Pictures. Written/executive produced by Scott Gold (Under The Dome), the project, which I hear has a significant penalty attached to it, is inspired by TIME Magazine’s 2013 cover story on the Silk Road online marketplace. It chronicles the saga of an ambitious computer aficionado in Silicon Valley who, with the help of his friends, evolves into an internet underworld crime boss fueled by a web portal where one can buy anything from a kidney to cocaine to a rocket-launcher. As his empire grows beyond borders and government regulation, he becomes the one of the most wanted men on Earth. “In this supremely competitive environment, we are thrilled to be the network to partner with Tony Krantz and filmmakers like Gary and Doug to bring this story to our ever-growing audience,” said Sharon Levy, EVP, Original Series, Spike TV. “This project speaks to the network’s search for wholly distinctive and relevant ideas, ripped from today’s headlines, that reflects our brand’s evolvement.”
This marks Oldman and Urbanski’s first time producing a television series. The duo’s feature producing credits include The Contender and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. “This is part of a long term strategy of spreading our creative wings into other platforms,” said Urbanski.
Flame Ventures EVP Drew Comins found the article and brought it to Krantz, who optioned it. Meanwhile, Urbanski and the Oldman met with Krantz to discuss possible joint TV projects. “It was a love affair at first sight,” Krantz said of his first meeting with Oldman.The producer mentioned the Deep Web idea, and the trio started developing it. Krantz brought in Gold, with whom he has a project about the NRA in consideration at Sundance TV. The project was then taken out, garnering interest from multiple outlets. Spike TV pursued it aggressively and was very passionate about it, leading to the deal. “The opportunity to work on a first class project with Tony, and the dedication Spike has brought to the entire enterprise is exactly what Doug and I have been seeking, and frankly, one we could not pass up,” said Oldman from London where he is currently filming. He is executive producing Deep Web with Krantz and Urbanski, while Comins serves as co-executive producer.
Krantz just set up an anthology series at NBC with a 10-episode script-to-series commitment.
Deep Web is part of Spike TV’s strategy to return to scripted programming. Its first project under the new mandate is event series Tut, set to premiere in 2015. Additinally, the network is developing The Crusaders, from Pierce Brosnan’s Irish DreamTime, Mark Sennet Entertainment, Michael Finch and writer David Franzoni; The Chairman, based on the Stephen Frey best-seller; and War at the Shore based on Richard D. Skip Bronson’s book.