Richard Shepard Forms TV Company With Bryan & Sean Furst, Makes Showtime Sale

EXCLUSIVE: Writer/director Richard Shepard has teamed with producers Sean Furst and Bryan Furst to launch television production shingle Olé. The new company has already set up two series projects, including Corkscrew at Showtime, which Shepard is writing and directing. Both projects are produced by CBS TV Studios which will handle Olé’s development under Shepard’s overall deal there.

Shepard’s spec Corkscrew, which he describes as “a black comic look at marriage,” was one of the firsts script that new Showtime entertainment president David Nevins read after he joined the network 2 months ago. It represents Emmy-winning director Shepard’s first foray into TV writing. (On the feature side, he has written and directed such features as The Matadors and The Hunting Party). In fact, Corkscrew was first envisioned as a feature before Shepard converted it into a TV series project with the scripts for the first 2 episodes written on spec.

Olé ‘s other project is an untitled medical drama from writers Jennifer Levin and Sherri Cooper, which recently sold to CBS. Shepard, Sean and Bryan Furst are exec producing with Cooper and Levin.

Shepard, who won an Emmy  for directing the pilot of Ugly Betty, has also helmed the pilots for CBS’ Criminal Minds, and its upcoming spinoff Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior. Shepard said he had been looking for awhile to parlay his experience directing pilots into a TV producing operation and now feels he has found the way to do it with the Fursts. “Sean and Bryan and I bring a creative edge to producing that can help drive smart, character-based shows from initial idea to realized series,” he said.

Shepard first worked with Sean and Bryan Furst on his 2006 film The Matador starring Pierce Brosnan, and the three recently reteamed on the HBO documentary I Knew It Was You: Rediscovering John Cazale, which Shepard directed, and the Fursts executive produced. “We’ve gone to the ends of the earth with Richard, and now we’re going into television with him too,” the Fursts said. On the TV side, the duo are executive producing the Epix pilot Tough Trade, which is still awaiting a series pickup while the pay cable service is trying to get additional carriage.

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