One Three Media, reality heavyweight Mark Burnett’s joint venture with Hearst, is expanding into scripted television. It has hired HBO veteran Anne Thomopoulos to start a new scripted division for drama series and miniseries and run it. Thomopoulos has executive produced such series/miniseries as Rome, Camelot and Generation Kill as well as Tom Fontana’s European-financed and produced Borgia, on whose second season season she is working at the moment. “Our scripted division will be producing domestically and internationally, using both traditional models and new business models,” Thomopoulos said.
Burnett’s first scripted project through his new company, a 10-hour miniseries for History based on the Bible that he’s executive producing alongside his wife Touched By An Angel star Roma Downey, is currently in production for a spring 2013 premiere. It is co-financed by Hearst Entertainment & Syndication, and Fox has worldwide home video distribution for it. One Three International (the international sales division of One Three Media) is handling distribution for initial TV release outside the U.S. Thomopoulos cited Borgia and the Bible series as examples of the type of non-traditional business models One Three scripted will pursue. “Neither series is being produced under a standard network model,” she said. “Networks are great partners, but sometimes certain types of series require different approaches.” Burnett dabbled into scripted TV via his previous company, Mark Burnett Prods, with several series projects, including semi-autobiographical WB comedy Commando Nanny.
On the unscripted side, Burnett will have at least six broadcast network primetime series on air during the next season: Survivor (CBS), Celebrity Apprentice (NBC), The Voice (NBC), Shark Tank (ABC) and two new series, The Job (CBS) and Stars Earn Stripes (NBC). According to One Three, that is a record for a reality producer.
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