On the heels of Alcon Entertainment’s first TV series, space drama The Expanse, getting a second-season pickup by Syfy, the financing and production company has brought in former NBC head of drama Laura Lancaster as president of Alcon Television Group. The position had been vacant since July, when Alcon’s first head of TV, Sharon Hall, departed.
Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson, who founded Alcon in 1997, led the search for a replacement as they are charting the next chapter in the company’s TV evolution. Tasked with leading the development of original programming for broadcast and cable, Lancaster will report to them.
“Laura is a true talent; her impressive track record of profitable and creative shows speaks for itself, and we are excited for her to bring her vast expertise at Alcon,” Kosove and Johnson said.
On the feature side, Alcon has had an output deal at Warner Bros., which was recently extended through 2019. The company also recently secured a $200 million credit facility from a bank syndicate led by JP Morgan Chase, CIT Bank and Bank of America.
In TV, the monied company is taking an indie route, fully financing and owning its series, though it also is open to partnering with studios. But overall, it does not plan to be in the fee-based business. Before The Expanse, Alcon Television Group also financed and produced Alex Gibney’s Emmy-nominated four-hour miniseries documentary Frank Sinatra: All Or Nothing for HBO.
Alcon is going for big-budget high-end fare, which was the case with The Expanse. That series is distributed internationally by another indie, Legendary, as Alcon is not planning to self-distribute its series internationally, instead working with partners.
Like other feature companies expanding into TV, Alcon is translating its film relationships to TV, both with creative and below-the-line talent, which was the case with the special effects team on The Expanse.
As EVP Drama Programming at NBC Entertainment, Lancaster oversaw drama development and current programming for NBC and Universal Television studio. The NBC series she developed include Revolution, Hannibal, Grimm, The Night Shift and Parenthood.
Lancaster previously served as SVP Drama Development at Fox where she spearheaded development of such series as Glee, Fringe and Lie To Me. Prior to that, she was SVP Drama Programming for NBC Universal Television Studio where she played a key role in the development of House, Heroes, Friday Night Lights and Battlestar Galactica. Before being promoted to SVP, Lancaster served as manager, director and VP Drama Programming for the studio.
Alcon Entertainment has financed and produced/co-financed 29 films to date, including the Oscar-nominated The Blind Side, family hit Dolphin Tale and most recently the Chilean miner movie The 33 and Point Break.