Helmer Simon West (“Lara Croft: Tomb Raider”) has inked a seven-figure, multiyear overall deal with Paramount Network Television.
Pact calls for West to create, develop and produce series programming for the studio via his Wychwood Prods. banner. He’ll also direct the pilots and select episodes of projects produced under the deal.
Wychwood topper Jib Polhemus will serve as West’s production partner on skeins resulting from the Par arrangement, which reps West’s first foray into American television. Helmer began his career as a news and docs producer for the BBC.
“After doing a few movies, I realized I yearned for the speed of television again,” West told Daily Variety. “You can think of an idea, and in the space of a few weeks, it’s on the air. These huge movies take two years to make, without even counting development. That’s a long time to tell one story.”
West said he’s also keen on telling some multilayered tales based on books he’s read. Scope of those ideas is too large to confine to a two- or three-hour pic.
“There are just some fantastic stories that I could never condense into films,” he said. “Episodic television is the perfect way to tell a long story.”
The Endeavor-repped West said it’s important for him to direct the pilots of any potential series. “I really want to put my stamp on it,” he said. “If my name’s going to be on something, I want to be proud of it.”
While he wouldn’t get too specific on TV projects in the works, West said he is in the final stages of putting together a detective series “with a very unusual twist.”
Par Network TV senior VP of drama development Kathy Lingg said the studio was “excited to be in business with Simon West.”
“We have a great respect for his talent and look forward to his vision and creativity.”