Suicide Squad and Bright helmer David Ayer has teamed with former Audience Network programming chief Chris Long to form Cedar Park Entertainment, a shingle that will develop film and TV projects on multiple platforms. The company starts off with Family Crimes, an Ayer-scripted series Cedar Park will produce with Jerry Bruckheimer Television. Starz has given a production commitment to a drama that follows a young privileged Latina who must reinvent herself in order to save her family when the feds close in on their business with the Mexican mob.
Long stepped down from his Audience Network post last month, after 18 years at its helm and overseeing such shows as Mr. Mercedes, the MMA-themed show Kingdom, You Me Her, and the upcoming Condor and Give Us This Day, and working with David E. Kelley, Antoine Fuqua, Taylor Swift, Garth Brooks and Tom Brady, among others. That programming spanned comedy, drama, non-scripted, music, sports and documentaries.
The opportunity for the partnership arose directly because of the Family Crimes series, whose Latino and strong female themes made it catnip to a number of broadcasters. Ayer pitched the series to Long and his colleagues at Audience Network, but because of the pending merger between parent company AT&T and Warner Bros, they were unable to move forward. When Long decided to leave, he and Ayer had lunch and found they connected on their ambitions and the kind of projects they wanted to make. They decided to partner up and made Family Crimes their first project. The company is in the process of finding its financial backers for the long run.
“After years as a buyer, I wanted to get back to producing content and being involved in all areas of the creative process,” Long said in a statement. “David and I share like-minded sensibilities and a common work ethic. We are passionate about the idea of creating a studio that will push the envelope and dive into the authentic, raw drama of what is really going on in the country today. We want to tell compelling, visceral stories about real life – and the things people aren’t talking about.”
Ayer forms the shingle as Netflix committed to a sequel to his first streaming foray Bright, the Will Smith-Joel Edgerton film that gives Netflix its first homegrown feature franchise. Ayer sparked to the chance to establish Netflix as a new platform for his kind of storytelling, and will have the chance to further shepherd projects as producer. “I am excited to apply the lessons I’ve learned in twenty years in business as a writer, director, and producer to Cedar Park,” he said in a statement. “Chris and I will work closely to tell compelling stories with reality and a little bit of edge that we hope will resonate with all audiences.”
CAA brokered the production company deal.