Capitalizing on its staggering Oscar season success, Fox Searchlight Pictures Presidents Nancy Utley and Steve Gilula are branching into the television business. They’ve launched Searchlight Television, making the company a 360-degree hub for creative talent and broadening the variety of projects produced under the Searchlight banner. David Greenbaum and Matthew Greenfield have been promoted to Presidents of Production for Film and Television. They add Searchlight Television to their current responsibilities including all aspects of production for the company. They are rising stars who were in high demand after the Oscar success of The Shape Of Water and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
This move indicates how highly regarded Searchlight is, and how it will figure into future plans when and if Disney completes its acquisition of Fox. Sources said that the intention is to lend the Searchlight taste maker brand to a number of series projects, some of which will be serviced to the Hulu streaming platform, of which Disney will be majority owner after the merger and is envisioned as the streaming landing place for adult-themed fare. Others expected that the new Disney streaming platform will also be a viable potential landing platform for the output. The studio has been looking for executives and staffing up. Those production executives will continue report to Greenfield and Greenbaum.
Searchlight Television will produce original material as well as utilize the studio’s rich library of feature films for adaptation in broadcast television, cable and streaming with forays into scripted series, limited series, documentaries and more, the company said in confirming the new company to Deadline.
Said Gilula and Utley, “At such an exciting moment for the company, we feel it is the perfect time to provide new avenues for visionary and innovative talent as well as to recognize the contributions of David and Matthew.”
Said Stacey Snider, Chairman and CEO, Twentieth Century Fox Film, “The relationships that the Searchlight team forges with talent are deep and abiding. It only makes sense to extend these relationships into television so Searchlight can continue to tell great stories on every platform.”
Said Peter Rice, President, 21st Century Fox, and Chairman and CEO, Fox Networks Group, “At such an exciting time for storytelling, all the Fox channels and studios are thrilled to be collaborating with Searchlight as it expands its unique brand of groundbreaking excellence into television.”
Said Greenfield and Greenbaum, “Searchlight has always been dedicated to bringing the unique stories of passionate creators to audiences worldwide. This evolution allows us to expand upon that mission, and provides our talent new opportunities to tell their stories in the widest variety of creative outlets, all the while maintaining the safe haven and dedicated creative approach that is Searchlight’s hallmark.”
In the Fox portfolio, Searchlight Television will join another production division focused on premium fare for cable and streaming networks, including Hulu, Fox 21 TV Studios, which is part of 20th Century Fox Television. Fox in the past also had two cable/streaming production units, Fox 21 and Fox TV Studios, which merged in 2014.
Greenbaum has been a senior executive at Fox Searchlight for eight years and Greenfield for 11. They shepherded the Best Picture winner The Shape of Water with director Guillermo del Toro, the Martin McDonagh-directed Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri which won Oscars for Fran McDormand and Sam Rockwell, as well as FSL’s current Wes Anderson pic Isle Of Dogs. Their past projects include Alexander Payne’s The Descendants, Jean-Marc Vallee’s Wild, Nicole Holofcener’s Enough Said and Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris’ Battle of the Sexes. Upcoming are the Yorgos Lanthimos-directed The Favourite with Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz and Olivia Colman; Melissa McCarthy-starrer Can you Ever Forgive Me, and David Lowery’s Old Man And The Gun with Robert Redford and Sissy Spacek; and Beast of the Southern Wild-helmer Benh Zeitlin’s Wendy.