EXCLUSIVE: Lynette Howell Taylor’s 51 Entertainment, a platform agnostic filmmaker-driven production company, is making a major foray into television, signing a first-look deal with MRC, the studio behind critically praised series including House of Cards, Ozark and Counterpart. Under the pact, Howell Taylor will work with MRC to develop and produce scripted projects under her 51 Entertainment production banner. As part of the expansion, 51 Entertainment has hired Helena Budnik as Vice President of Television. Budnik moves to 51 Entertainment from Scott Rudin Productions where she served as a creative executive.
“We are incredibly excited to have the opportunity to work with the brilliant minds at MRC, who are behind some of the most talked about series today,” said Howell Taylor. “It is important to continue pushing the boundaries with content that appeals to a wide-array of audiences across multiple platforms. It is with MRC that we feel is the perfect home to drive this programming.”
“We have long admired Lynette’s natural instinct to seek out and shepherd many of the industry’s leading talent and produce so many acclaimed films, said MRC. “Both of our companies share an ambition to collaborate with the very best artists to bring unique, cinematic experiences to the widest possible audience. We are confident that Lynette will only expand on this as her company ventures into Television and this partnership will create many new and exciting projects that we can bring to the forefront together.”
Veteran indie producer Howell Taylor launched 51 Entertainment just one year ago. She is currently in production on Wander Darkly, written and directed by Tara Miele starring Sienna Miller and Diego Luna. Most recently Howell Taylor produced Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut A Star Is Born, in which he stars opposite Lady Gaga. The film, which opens October 5, just premiered at Venice and TIFF and is getting early Oscar buzz.
Howell Taylor’s other producing credits include Brie Larson’s directorial debut Unicorn Store and Warner Bros. The Accountant, starring Ben Affleck and JK Simmons. She has been a producer on Matt Ross’ movies 28 Hotel Rooms and Captain Fantastic, the latter which earned Viggo Mortensen an Oscar nom, and they are reteaming for Ross’ next pic, Tomorrow And Tomorrow for TriStar. On the TV side she produced multiple episodes of the award-winning ESPN 30 FOR 30 docu-series.
Prior to joining 51 Entertainment, Budnik spent two years at Scott Rudin Productions as a creative executive where she managed the company’s film and television slates and played a key role in facilitating a first-look deal for the company with Fox Networks Group. During her tenure there, she worked on the anticipated upcoming series What We Do in the Shadows for FX and Dispatches from Elsewhere for AMC. Before that, she worked as an assistant within CAA’s motion picture literary department as well as at Fox 2000 while the company developed the Oscar-nominated film, Hidden Figures, among others.
MRC has financed, developed and produced television series such as House of Cards, Ozark and Counterpart. Its films include Baby Driver, Ted and Elysium, among others. Mortal Engines, written and produced by Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, is slated for release in December of 2018. MRC has also selectively co-financed a number of major studio films including Peter Rabbit, Furious 7, 22 Jump Street and Hotel Transylvania 2 and 3. To date, MRC films have grossed more than $4.8 billion in worldwide box office and its projects have been nominated for 18 Golden Globe Awards, 59 Emmy Awards, 11 Academy Awards, and 2 Grammy Awards.
51 Entertainment is repped by Endeavor Content/WME.