EXCLUSIVE: Doug Liman and Dave Bartis’ Hypnotic has tapped former Fox VP Lindsay Sloane as development executive. Additionally, the company has extended its overall deal with Universal Cable Prods. for another year. Hypnotic already has several new projects in the works, including 2 dramas at USA, Silent Partner, from Leverage creator Chris Downey, and Winslow, from Zak Schwartz (Covert Affairs).
At Hypnotic, Sloane will work with Liman, Bartis, and Gene Klein, focusing on developing new series targeted for UCP-affiliated networks USA and Syfy as well as broadcast nets. The hire of Sloane, who was previously VP original scripted series at USA, comes on the heels of Hypnotic forgoing development this past year for the first time in its history upon request from UCP. The decision not to develop came last summer when Hypnotic’s freshman USA series Covert Affairs was renewed and two of the company’s other projects, Suits (then A Legal Mind) at USA and I Want My Pants Back at MTV, were greenlighted to pilot, so Bartis, Liman and Klein focused on production of the 3 projects for UCP. The development hiatus was supposed to be temporary but “I wasn’t counting on both pilots getting picked up to series,” Bartis said. “We have 3 shows coming up, and it was not possible for the 3 of us to do 3 shows and develop at the same time.” That’s when UCP stepped in. “We told them, we don’t want to hold you back. Let’s keep the quality strong and bring an executive to keep developing new projects,” said USA co-president and UCP co-head Jeff Wachtel. “What sets our successful shows apart is not the concept as much as the execution, and Doug, Dave and Gene have delivered beyond expectation on execution.”
Hypnotic has been at UPC for the past 2 years after spending almost 5 years at sister broadcast studio UMS. When a couple of projects were passed on by NBC, Bartis and Liman walked across the street and sold them to USA. One of those projects was Covert Affairs. Wachtel remembers how skeptical he and the rest of USA’s top executives were about a CIA show but Sloane, who was the development executive on the project, and the network’s Jackie De Crinis fought for the show and ultimately convinced the network brass to go with it. During her stint at USA, Sloane also found and developed with Bill McGoldrick dramedy Psych. Bartis and Liman reached out to her the moment they found out that she would not renew her contract at Fox. “Having Lindsay back in the family is like homecoming,” Wachtel said. Sloane spent the last 2 years at Fox where she co-ran the drama department with Terence Carter until the company’s management restructuring in February, in which Carter was upped to SVP and sole head of drama. After working for a cable and broadcast network, Sloane said she “wanted a job that is creative and collaborative” where she can “work more deeply” on projects. Here is a description of Hypnotic’s USA projects Silent Partner and Winslow:

SILENT PARTNER – An ambulance-chasing attorney and his idealistic young paralegal form a powerful team. Their unlikely partnership is a product of the new phenomenon of legal outsourcing:  He’s in Florida and she’s in India. Downey the writer/producer. Liman and Bartis are executive producing, and Klein producing.
WINSLOW – Jimmy Winslow is a private detective who’s a recovering alcoholic with a load of debts, a father in prison, and an ex-girlfriend he’s trying to win back. He lacks a perfect record in anything except his ability to solve cases and tell the truth to those who don’t want to hear it – and for now, that’s enough. Schwartz is writer/co-executive producer. Liman and Bartis are executive producers, Klein producer.