No one is commenting but the value of the pact is believed to be in the nine figures. Under the agreement, the duo will develop live-action comedy and drama series as well as animated shows through their Lord Miller Productions company, including a suite of TV series based on Sony’s Universe of Marvel characters, referred to as Spider-verse, which had been a priority for SPT.
The latter is said to have been a major selling point that helped bring Lord and Miller to Sony TV in a very competitive situation with multiple independent studios and a streaming platform pursuing them. The pair is coming off winning an Oscar for Sony’s Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse. The Sony TV deal allows the pair to develop their own projects for network, cable and streaming platforms, as well as develop and supervise other writers’ projects.
Aubrey Lee will continue in her role at Lord Miller as VP of TV Development and Production. Select TV projects related to Sony’s Universe of Marvel Characters will be produced in partnership with Amy Pascal.
Lord and Miller are moving to Sony Pictures TV after nine years at 20th Century Fox TV. Under their 20th TV pacts, Lord and Miller executive produced several series, including The Last Man On Earth, Making History and Son of Zorn. They remain in business with the studio — now part of Disney — as executive producers on two upcoming animated series, Bless the Harts for Fox and Hoops for Netflix. (While Lord and Miller have strong relationships on the Fox side of the company via 20th TV, they have a complicated history on the Disney side after their dismissal from the Han Solo Star Wars movie.)
Meanwhile, Lord and Miller have a long history at Sony Picture Entertainment. In addition to Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse, past collaborations include 2009’s Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, which marked the pair’s writing and directorial debut, and 21 and 22 Jump Street. The duo have multiple feature projects in the works with the studio, including The Last Human, which Sony won in a highly competitive sale and is a live-action tent-pole Lord and Miller are developing to direct.
The mega deal with Lord and Miller comes on the heels of another big overall deal Sony TV just inked with Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa as Sony Pictures Television Studios president Jeff Frost and co-presidents Chris Parnell and Jason Clodfelter recently stressed that the indie studio is “absolutely” in the market for big-name talent and is prepared to pay the high price tags required in the current red-hot marketplace to land A-list creative talent.
“This is a significant milestone for our television business, having the opportunity to work with two of the most creative forces in the industry in both our film and television businesses,” said Mike Hopkins, Chairman of SPT. “Building on our strong IP and creating new franchises has been a key focus for SPE, and the best way to do that is to invest in remarkable storytellers like Phil and Chris. We are thrilled to welcome them to the SPT family, and I want to thank Jeff, Chris and Jason for all their hard work in pulling this deal together.”
Added Frost, “Phil and Chris have reimagined every medium and genre they have touched. Whether it’s television, features or animation, they have created their own unique brand and style. We are so excited to be working with these brilliant creators and showrunners and are looking forward to collaborating with them in every aspect of television – comedy, drama, animation and beyond.”
Lord and Miller have spent their careers pushing creative boundaries. From Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse, which was praised for its cultural impact and technical innovation, to The Lego Movie franchise, which redefined what a blockbuster film could be, to the television series The Last Man On Earth, which took risks by launching an entire series on a singular character, Lord and Miller’s projects have earned them an Academy Award, an Emmy nomination, multiple BAFTA’s and their features have grossed over $3.3 billion at the worldwide box office. In addition to Last Human, Lord and Miller are also developing to direct the feature Artemis, based on the novel by The Martian author Andy Weir for Fox and New Regency.
“We are so grateful to everyone at Sony Pictures Television for choosing to partner with us and expand our enduring relationship with the studio. Together we aim to make groundbreaking work of the highest quality and integrity, and to place that work in convenient proximity to your eyeballs and earholes, wherever you may be,” said Lord and Miller.
Lord and Miller’s deal was brokered by UTA and Ziffren Brittenham and completed prior the expiration of WGA/ATA’s franchise agreement on April 12th.