'Potter' helmer inks two-year TV deal
“Harry Potter” helmer Chris Columbus is set to make his first serious foray into network TV, inking an exclusive two-year overall development deal with Brad Grey Television.Columbus — the director behind family blockbusters “Home Alone” and “Mrs. Doubtfire,” as well as last year’s Robin Williams starrer “Bicentennial Man” — will develop and create comedy and drama projects for BGTV through his 1492 Prods. Michael Barnathan and Mark Radcliffe, Columbus’ 1492 partners, are also attached to the deal, valued at seven figures. BGTV prexy Kevin Reilly said Columbus has already come up with “an hourlong drama with an offbeat comic bent” as well as a half-hour comedy that BGTV will begin pitching to webs in early June. “The guy has great intensity,” Reilly told Daily Variety. “If you look at the breadth of his creations, they’re inventive and they’re successful — and those are two good attributes I’d like to have in a TV company.” Reilly said his early discussions with Columbus about future productions have him excited about what 1492 will produce for BGTV. “He’s an idea machine, and he brings a lot of creative enthusiasm to all those ideas.” Reilly said Columbus may direct at least one project for BGTV, depending upon the helmer’s feature sked. Columbus said he’s “admired the shows Brad Grey and his company have produced.” The indie studio’s hits include HBO’s “The Sopranos” and NBC’s “Just Shoot Me.” “I am excited about exploring new opportunities in television,” said Columbus. In addition to directing the much-buzzed about feature adaptation of J.K. Rowling “Harry Potter” book series for Warner Bros., several Columbus feature projects will see release by Fox over the next year. Columbus wrote and produced “Fantastic Four,” produced “Monkeybone” and directed “The Interpreter.” On the feature side, 1492 is expected to land at Warner Bros. later this year (Daily Variety, Feb. 24.) Deal for 1492 Prods. was brokered by Creative Artists Agency and the law firm of Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Hertz and Goldring.