In a possible glimpse at the Fox Network’s strategy for finding alternatives as its sister studio, 20th Century Fox TV, is moving to Disney, Fox Entertainment has launched SideCar, a “Content Development Accelerator,” headed by veteran executive and producer Gail Berman.
The Fox Entertainment-owned SideCar keeps Berman in the Fox fold where her The Jackal Group (Netflix’s Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, Fox’s Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life) had been based. It also marks the first major business move since Charlie Collier was brought in as Fox Entertainment CEO with a mandate to lead the company with ‘make new rules’ start-up mentality.”
The new unit will function alongside Fox Entertainment, focusing on identifying and incubating programming both for the Fox network and third-party platforms. SideCar will develop scripted and unscripted programming designed to complement the network’s own development, with Fox Entertainment retaining ownership of all series that originate under the SideCar banner. It is designed to serve as another access point for creators to bring projects to the network, or outside platforms when appropriate.
SideCar is expected to be flexible, creating deal structures that are tailored to each project. Fox Entertainment will produce some shows, and SideCar also can partner with other studios on others.
“The beauty of a SideCar is that the riders are literally headed in the same direction, and having Gail Berman riding shotgun is about as good as it gets,” said Collier. “Michael Thorn, Rob Wade and their teams have Fox firing on all cylinders. So, extending their reach and allowing creators another door through which to access our brands, business and executives is the right strategic move at the time we need it. I’m a great admirer of Gail’s work as both a producer and executive. The respect she commands, her impeccable taste and the meaningful relationships she’s amassed will help fuel FOX Entertainment with quality programming and allow Michael and Rob an even greater palate from which to paint. Everybody wins.”
Berman’s The Jackal Group, a production studio for scripted and unscripted television, feature films, digital content and commercial theater, will continue as a separate entity. Berman launched The Jackal Group in 2014 with a big multi-year deal at Fox Network Group, which expired at the end of 2018. Since Fox Network Group as an entity no longer exists as its assets are being split between Disney and “New Fox”, the pact was allowed to lapse but Collier and his team wanted to stay in business with Berman and began discussions about a new partnership.
SideCar gives Fox an owned unit that can also sell elsewhere, which is considered crucial in today’s multi-platform environment where content ownership is paramount. And the company is run by someone with deep knowledge of the Fox brand.
Berman, who currently serves as President of the Producers Guild of America, has extensive experience both as a producer and a high-level executive and is one of the few media execs to have held the top posts both at a major film studio and a broadcast network. From 2000 to 2005, she was Fox Entertainment President, which was followed by a two-year stint as President of Paramount Pictures.
“Charlie’s innovative, intelligent approach and operational track record is a winning combo, and there is no one better to lead the charge at the reimagined Fox,” Berman said. “With Fox Entertainment, he is ultimately delivering content creators with an environment where they can develop fresh material, and deliver audiences with high quality options across platforms. Fox Entertainment has both the legacy brand and pliant model to deliver both, and I am excited to get going,” added Berman.
In addition to Netflix’s breakout hit and pop culture phenom Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, TJG also has a number of scripted TV projects in development, including adaptations of Ricardo Nuila’s anticipated non-fiction book, “The Poor Unfortunates”; and Chloe Benjamin’s New York Times best-selling novel, “The Immortalists.” On the feature side TJG has I Almost Forgot About You and Carlin in development.