Firm sets up projects at HBO, CBS, USA Net
Ken Gross Management has prepped a development slate, following its success packaging such recent projects as TNT telepic “Door to Door.”
Company principal Ken Gross, as a manager of literary talent and/or as a producer, has projects set up at HBO, USA Network and CBS.
At HBO, for example, writer-producer Peter Lefcourt, whose career Gross has managed for more than 15 years, is developing a half-hour dark comedy about a Southern California family in the porn biz. Lefcourt, whose credits include “Cagney & Lacey” and “Beggars and Choosers,” also is repped by the William Morris Agency.
And recently Gross helped negotiate the two-year deal for his client, director-exec producer Christopher Chulack, to remain at Warner Bros. TV on board a trio of John Wells series (Daily Variety, Aug. 28).
Past pays off
Gross says the two decades he spent as an agent prior to opening boutique management-production company KGM in 1997 is paying off now, in the face of an increasingly tough TV market and the vertically integrated competition.
“My years as an agent demanded that I get there quickest in order to beat the larger behemoths of the talent biz.,” said Gross, who was a founding partner of talent/literary agency Paradigm, and a partner at literary boutique Robinson, Weintraub and Gross.
“It was a great kind of graduate program in learning where real talent is, what the buyers needs are, and when the buyers needs are changing,” he added.
Highlights of the projects KGM has in the works follow:
- KGM client Richard Dilello is writing “Murder in Cold, Blue Blood,” a telepic script in development at USA Network. Project is being considered to be part of the cabler’s true crime longform franchise with Dominick Dunne.
“Blood” is an adaptation of a Dunne article about a blue-blood murder in a cheap Las Vegas hotel.
- Gross recently secured the TV rights to a series of books by author Mercedes Lambert that are the base of a drama series script in the works at Warner Bros. for the Eye.
Tentatively titled “Soultown,” Gross describes the project as a contemporary “Cagney & Lacey,” starring two femme investigators in Los Angeles, one of whom is Anglo, the other a Latina.
Writing duties for the project are under discussion.
- As a producer, Gross also worked on December 2001 CBS telepic “A Town Without Christmas,” along with Dan Blatt Prods. Scribe-supervising producer Michael Murray, who Gross manages, penned the pic. The team behind the movie is developing a sequel, called “John Christmas,” at the Eye.
Gross’ work as a manager-producer in the telepic biz also includes Showtime’s upcoming “Stealing Sinatra,” starring David Arquette and William H. Macy, as well as Sci Fi’s upcoming “Control Factor.”
- Gross also continues to nurture the careers of up-and-comers behind the screen. He lobbied, for example, for Nelson McCormick, a young video director and former Air Force combat cinematographer, to direct an episode of “Third Watch” last year.
The assignment turned out to be the one in production on Sept. 11, 2001, and John Wells Prods. and Warner Bros. apparently were impressed enough about how the helmer handled himself to hire him on three more “Third Watch” segs and two for “ER.”
McCormick, who also is repped by the Gersh Agency, now has a first-look, non-exclusive deal for JWP/WBTV to direct a minimum of five episodes of their shows during the 2002-03 TV season.
McCormick helmed Sci Fi pic “Control Factor.”
- Gross also manages Steven Schachter (“Door to Door”) and William H. Macy as a writing team.
Duo, who also are repped by Writers & Artists, are developing “Put-In-Bay,” a dramedy pilot script that they have in turnaround from 20th Century Fox Television. A script for the project previously was set up at 20th and ordered by the Eye.
The concept centers on a handful of families whose lives are turned upside down after their Midwestern town becomes a vacation destination.