After a five-year collaboration that produced four pilots at the major broadcast networks, Aaron Kaplan and London-born writer-performer Sharon Horgan are formalizing their partnership with the launch of a joint venture between Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment and Merman Films, the company Horgan has launched with producer Clelia Mountford.
Under the agreement, Kapital and Merman will collaborate exclusively in the U.S. and will develop American-created content for the UK through Merman and Kapital Entertainment’s newly launched international division, Kapital International.
The partners already have lined up projects on both sides of the Atlantic. In the UK, they are developing Post Empire, a six-episode darkly comedic hour. Created by James Van Der Beek, Roger Avery and Bret Easton Ellis, the project stars Van Der Beek as an American “Bernie Madoff” type in the UK as he juggles his investors while his world starts to collapse. Post Empire reunites the actor with Kapital, which produced his CBS comedy series Friends With Better Lives.
In the U.S., Kapital and Merman have A Sort Of Family, a multi-camera comedy at CBS and CBS TV Studios, which Horgan is co-writing with British scribe Neil Forsyth. It is about a single guy’s discovery that a one-night stand produced a teenage son, and their clumsy attempts to form a sort of family. Horgan also is writing a joint Kapital-Merman project set up at HBO.
Horgan and Kaplan’s four pilots to date include Pulling, Bad Mom and Bad Management at ABC and Dead Boss at Fox. With the exception of Bad Mom, all were based on series Horgan originally created in the UK.
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This marks Kapital Entertainment’s second joint venture. Earlier this year, Kaplan inked a similar agreement with producer Tracy Katsky.
Merman Films began as a co-production deal with Bwark but now will be jointly owned by Horgan and Mountford and run independently, with Mountford as Managing Director and Horgan in charge of the creative output. The company also has scripts in development with the BBC and Channel 4.
Mountford and Horgan met while working together on The Increasingly Poor Decisions Of Todd Margaret for IFC/Channel 4, which Mountford executive produced and Horgan starred in. Mountford also produced Horgan’s directorial debut, The Week Before Christmas for Sky’s Little Crackers strand. “We want to make TV and film that reflects the shows we love to watch — comedy that can be a little bit grown up, drama that’s not afraid to be funny,” Horgan said. “Having spent years working with a host of amazing production companies and wonderfully creative people, I now look forward to bypassing all of that and going straight on the telly. I think that’s how it works.”
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