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Cameron turns eye to TV

Helmer links with Eglee for series

Academy Award-winning director, writer and producer James Cameron is turning his attention to the small screen.

The “Titanic” helmer has teamed up with veteran TV producer Charles (Chic) Eglee (“NYPD Blue,” “Murder One”) to form a joint venture to produce series TV. The deal marks Cameron’s first foray into the TV business.

Cameron and Eglee, whose venture is still unnamed, are planning to shop their services to networks and studios beginning today.

A source at Endeavor, which is repping both the new venture and Eglee, said Cameron and Eglee will choose the best deal out there, but will likely give some consideration to Cameron’s relationship with 20th Century Fox. Cameron has a film deal at 20th, where he has made “Titanic,” “Aliens,” “The Abyss” and “True Lies.”

Rae Sanchini, president of Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment, also will be very involved in the TV venture.

Cameron and Eglee are expected to focus on drama programming for network TV, cable and firstrun syndication.

Those involved in the new venture would not discuss what projects are in the works, but sources say Cameron recently optioned Kim Stanley Robinson’s “Mars Trilogy” books in hopes of developing them for TV.

“I like challenges, and after years of painting on the feature film canvas, I’m excited to turn my creative focus to a medium that emphasizes writing, not visual spectacle,” Cameron said in a statement. “Ultimately, telling stories is what I love to do most.”

Although a slew of film writers, directors and producers are showing an interest in creating TV series, Cameron is the highest-profile filmmaker to make the jump to TV in recent months.

“Jim observed that television lets you tell the stories of your characters over months, even years,” Eglee said in a statement. “In a movie, as soon as you get to know them, it’s over.”

Longtime plans

Cameron and Eglee have been friends for 17 years, and the two have been talking about working together in TV for quite some time. Cameron is expected to help form the ideas for new series, while Eglee will handle the nuts-and-bolts show running.

“I’ve long been a fan of Chic’s work, and I’ll be relying heavily on his expertise to help me (with) the learning curve of this fast-paced medium,” Cameron said.

Eglee began his career working for Roger Corman, and then he moved to TV as a story editor for “St. Elsewhere” and a producer for “Moonlighting.” Since 1990, Eglee has worked closely with Steven Bochco and his writing partner Channing Gibson.

Eglee was a co-executive producer of “Civil Wars,” co-creator and executive producer of “Byrds of Paradise,” co-executive producer of “NYPD Blue,” co-creator and executive producer of “Murder One” “Total Security.” He also writes features, including the upcoming film “Thieves.”

Breakthrough pic

Cameron first broke through with his 1984 feature “The Terminator,” which he wrote and directed. His latest film, “Titanic,” won 11 Oscars, including best picture and best director, and has grossed $1.8 billion worldwide at the box office.

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