Jason Blum’s Blumhouse Productions, expert of micro-budgeted horror features (Paranormal Activity, The Purge, Insidious, and Sinister franchises), is bring the model to television with a multi-year production agreement at Universal Cable Prods. The pact, which stems from Blumhouse’s first-look production agreement with NBCUniversal, will focus on creating scripted and non-scripted programming leveraging the “micro-budget” method. The agreement includes two blind series commitments – one from from Syfy and one from USA Network.
Blum has been trying to crack the micro-budget model on the TV side, including through a deal at Lionsgate TV. Under the pact at UCP, Blumhouse plans to produce an entire season of a scripted series for the average cost of a traditional cable pilot. As on the feature side, the model involves low upfront production costs, including no fee for Blumhouse, coupled with performance-based incentives — a season 2 and subsequent season pick-ups. As part of the model, showrunners, like Blumhouse’s feature film directors, get more creative control.
“Blumhouse has achieved tremendous financial and creative success with its production model in the feature film business and together, we figured out a way to adapt the model for television,” UCP’s Jeff Wachtel said. “It’s part of our studio’s strategy of being flexible with existing models and finding new ways to bring great ideas to market.”
Added Blum, “When we launched our television business, one of our goals was to try and build on what we have done in film – keeping budgets low to give storytellers creative freedom and to increase profits. Jeff Wachtel and his entire team at Universal Cable Productions have been at the forefront of trying new models in television and we are grateful to be a small part of their process.”
Blumhouse’s micro-budget, franchise films have grossed more than $1.4 billion worldwide on combined budgets under $45 million. Blumhouse TV, run by Jessica Rhoades, produces series Ascension on Syfy, South Of Hell at WE TV and Eye Candy at MTV and is developing several other projects.
Blum executive produced the upcoming HBO documentary series The Jinx: The Life And Deaths Of Robert Durst and won an Emmy for his producing role on HBO’s The Normal Heart.