We have the first major TV sale of 2015. In a competitive situation with multiple cable and digital outlets pursuing, Showtime has landed The Studio, a 1990s movie business drama project from Peter Tolan, George Clooney and Foxcatcher director Bennett Miller. Sony Pictures TV, where Tolan’s Fedora Entertainment and Clooney and Grant Heslov’s Smokehouse Pictures have overall deals, is the studio.
Showtime is putting The Studio, which was taken out before the holidays, in development with a premium deal that has a penalty attached. Written by Tolan and to be directed by Miller, the project tells the story of a movie studio in the early ’90s, when the studios were being bought up by conglomerates and corporate culture crashed head-on into Hollywood’s excesses. The two men running our studio are best friends who struggle to maintain their humanity while they stockpile power, fight off irrelevance, and mercilessly f**k over anyone who gets in their way — including each other.
Clooney and Heslov executive produce through Smokehouse alongside Miller as well as Fedora’s Tolan and Michael Wimer.
At Showtime, The Studio would compliment another inside showbiz series, comedy Episodes, which skewers the world of American network television.
Tolan has explored (and exposed) the inner workings of Hollywood before — he created the short-lived 2002 ABC comedy series My Adventures In Television aka Wednesday 9:30 (8:30 Central), about executives at a TV network, and he served as head writer on Garry Shandling’s HBO comedy The Larry Sanders Show, set behind the scenes of a late-night TV talk show. He most recently co-created and executive produces with Jim Gaffigan the upcoming TV Land comedy series The Gaffigan Show. On the hourlong side, Tolan co-created with Denis Leary FX’s post-9/11 firefighter drama Rescue Me.
This marks a return to TV for Smokehouse, which most recently produced the 2010 offbeat TNT cop drama Memphis Beat. Miller’s directorial credits also include Moneyball and Capote. The Studio was packaged by CAA, which reps all parties involved. Smokehouse also is repped by Lichter, Grossman; Fedora by attorney Ira Schreck and Miller by attorney Warren Dern.