A year and a half after then-newly independent network Fox Entertainment launched SideCar Content Accelerator with Gail Berman at the helm, Fox is dissolving the production company. Its slate, which includes 17 projects currently in development, will be folded into the network’s scripted programming department.
SideCar Chairperson Berman will return as full-time CEO of her own banner, The Jackal Group, which operated independently from SideCar. She will remain attached to future Fox projects that originated under SideCar as an executive producer.
The shutdown is believed to be a cost-cutting measure by Fox related to the current financial squeeze experienced by the Hollywood studios and networks amid the COVID-19-related production shutdown and the big contraction in the advertising market.
Fully owned by Fox Entertainment, SideCar was created as al content pipeline for the network, developing and producing/co-producing scripted and unscripted shows, primarily for Fox but also for other networks. The Hollywood shutdown came just as SideCar was starting to get its first green lights, including a pilot order at Fox for The Goonies-themed untitled reenactment project, whose filming was suspended.
Because of the pandemic, Fox recently announced a coronavirus-proof fall schedule featuring almost exclusively series that already are in the can, including acquisitions, with most of its returning series slated for midseason and the fate of its pilots up in the air.
The production delay also has left plans for the SideCar’s slate in limbo. The slate includes the live-action comedies The Texanist, Mr. Black, Every Other Weekend, The Sidelines and untitled Steven Craig/Brian Bradley/Gordon Ramsey comedy; animated comedies Saloon and the untitled Twins comedy; dramas The Perfect Couple, untitled City Hall project and untitled Country Music drama; and several unscripted projects. SideCar’s third-party projects include the Darren Criss series Royalties at Quibi and Wellsville for NBC.
The Jackal Group, which was originally launched as a joint venture between Berman and the now-defunct Fox Television Group, produced the Netflix unscripted hit Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. The company has a number of scripted television projects in development at Fox; Amazon, AMC and more. For Broadway, The Jackal Group is producing a contemporary musical based on the film, The Rose. On the feature side, the company is developing Baz Luhrmann’s Untitled Elvis Presley movie, Carlin the official George Carlin biopic, Turn of Mind, Gideon Raff’s feature adaptation of the Alice LaPlante New York Times bestseller, I Almost Forgot About You, a feature adaptation of Terry McMillan’s bestselling novel of the same name, starring Viola Davis, directed by Malcolm D. Lee and co-written by McMillan and Ron Bass, at Universal Pictures; and a follow up to The Addams Family.
Fox Entertainment has been signing direct talent deals with creators, including Jeff Davis, Kyle Killen, Mara Brock Akil and Sarah Watson, among others. Its portfolio of production assets include its animation studio, Bento Box Entertainment; and in-house unscripted studio Fox Alternative Entertainment, which is overseen by President of Alternative Entertainment Rob Wade.
Fox Entertainment also operates the ad-supported video on demand service Tubi.
Here is the memo Fox’s Charlie Collier sent this morning about SideCar:
I’m writing to tell you about organizational changes that will bring SideCar’s production and development capabilities more formally into the FOX scripted programming department. This is something Gail and I have been discussing and as a result of those conversations, we are retiring the SideCar name and Gail has decided to return full-time to her company, The Jackal Group.
One of the industry’s most respected executives, Gail has played a number of integral roles at FOX over the past two decades. She is the definition of professional and I value her guidance, advice and support.
Along with her team at SideCar, Gail has accomplished so much during our time together, setting up nearly 20 projects at FOX Entertainment alone, and also succeeding broadly across Hollywood, selling projects to Quibi (“Royalties”) and NBC (“Wellsville”), among others.
At The Jackal Group, Gail has a number of film and television projects in active development and production. I am certain we will collaborate on many ideas moving forward. It’s what Gail does and she does it very well.
I know I speak for us all when I wish Gail and everyone at SideCar only good in the days ahead.
Please reach out to your colleagues at SideCar. And please continue to take care of yourselves and your families.