Exec eyes 'paranormal' Phenomena as TV, film fodder
Jeff Sagansky may be the new Tina Brown.
The former CBS Entertainment prexy, who recently exited as head of Pax TV, has started a magazine about UFOs and other scientific unknowns that he hopes will spawn television and possibly film spinoffs.
To be sure, Phenomena is no Talk. The sexiest thing about the cover of the bimonthly mag’s inaugural issue is a headline that reads “Alien Abduction in Brazil.” (For the record, Sagansky prefers a comparison to Graydon Carter. “It’s almost like a Vanity Fair of the paranormal,” he said.)
Although there is no formal arrangement between Phenomena and a studio, a la the Talk-Miramax marriage, Sagansky says he hopes the magazine will inspire programming.
“Some of these stories would make good TV or movie properties. At some point I’d love to do a Phenomena-based TV show,” Sagansky said. “If you look at some of the biggest TV hits and feature films, they all have a paranormal kind of background, whether it’s the ‘X Files’ or ‘Independence Day.’ Something like half the top 20 movies of all time have this quality.”
He added that he has already been approached by networks inquiring about the possibility of a TV magazine show.
Until then, Sagansky is up to his elbows in editorial for the magazine, which he co-owns with Santa Monica-based Mania Entertainment (publisher of Cinescape magazine). “The content of the magazine had been a hobby. I’d met experts in various fields, and for a long time I wanted to start a magazine,” he said. “There are UFO magazines, archeology magazines and Biblical archeology magazines, but no magazine that encompasses archeological and phenomena-related material — certainly nothing that has a high gloss and the biggest names in the field.”
Conde Nast, beware.