EXCLUSIVE: David Heyman is forming Heyday Television, a joint venture with NBCUniversal International Studios that will be dedicated to creating premium long-form scripted content. This marks the first major foray into TV content for Heyman, already one of the world’s most successful film producers thanks to the Harry Potter franchise, the multiple-Oscar-winning Gravity and most recently Paddington with StudioCanal. He has also previously produced David Hare’s Emmy Award-winning limited TV series The Worricker Trilogy starring Bill Nighy, Ralph Fiennes, Rachel Weiss, Christopher Walken, Helena Bonham Carter and Winona Ryder, also with NBCStudios International.
The new company, which will be a stand-alone from Heyman’s film banner Heyday Films, will have office in London and Los Angeles. Heyman is currently staffing up the operations. The deal, which will give Heyman access to NBCUni’s global distribution platform, is designed to provide flexibility for the feted producer. Although its slate is still in the formative stages, Heyday Television will have two blind series commitments from NBC. The new company will also have the freedom to sell its shows to other networks, as well as cable and premium channels like HBO and the likes of Netflix and Amazon.
Heyman’s London base will also make the company a natural fit for international co-productions with UK broadcasters. The company will ideally look to get a couple of new series on to the air every year.
“The great appeal of this deal for us is working with David Heyman,” NBCUni Intl Studios president Michael Edelstein told Deadline. “He’s as talented a producer as there is, with a broad range of tastes and material defined by high quality. We look forward to helping David bring his passion and creativity to global television audiences for years to come.”
Heyman’s film career has been nothing short of glittering. In addition to the global phenomenon of the Potter films and successfully launching a new family franchise in Paddington, Heyman has also balanced those titles with lower-budget, edgier fare such as John Crowley’s Is Anybody There? and the powerful Holocaust drama The Boy In The Striped Pajamas.
“It’s a very exciting time for TV. I got into films because of European films in the ’60s and American films in the ’70s,” Heyman tells Deadline. “Increasingly, that is no longer the domain of film. Those films are being made in television and that really excites me. To make intelligent, mainstream entertainment and to do it in the UK and the U.S., that really is the primary driver for me. I love TV.”
As with his film slate, the TV slate is likely to be varied with both event spectacles and more character-driven projects to be pursued. That said, character has always been at the heart of what has interested Heyman.
“To tell a story over an extended period of time, even with Potter it was over 18 hours, gives me great pleasure,” said Heyman. “If you look at my tastes in film, they are all fairly different but what I am drawn to is characters, for all their magic and fantasy. It’s really about people with whom the audience can engage. All the special effects do not have currency without people and characters with whom you can engage. I hope to bring that to television.”
Heyman does not intend to let up with the film activity as a result of his increased work load. The producer is currently in production on Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, and also has Paddington 2 revving up to go into production at some point next year, not to mention a typically eclectic development slate.
“On behalf of everyone at NBC Entertainment, we’re thrilled to be in business with a visionary film producer like David Heyman who is going to bring his classy sensibility, his sophisticated sense of storytelling, and his extraordinary relationships with great writers and directors to television,” said NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt.
The partnership with Heyman gives NBCUni International another formidable ally in the scripted TV department along with Downton Abbey producer Carnival Films; a joint venture with production powerhouse Working Title (You, Me And The Apocalypse); Lucky Giant, which specializes in comedy and most recently produced Christopher Guest’s comedy Family Tree for BBC2 and HBO; and Australian-based Matchbox Pictures, makers of drama series The Nowhere Boys. NBCUni Intl. also has a first-look deal with Hardy Son & Baker and 87 Films.
Heyman is repped by UTA, Bloom Hergott, and Wiggin.