Lauren Graham’s got game — Good Game, that is.
Star of the WB’s “Gilmore Girls” has set up production shingle Good Game at Warner Bros. TV, where she’ll develop and exec produce comedies and dramas. Scribe-turned-producer Sydnie Suskind will serve as VP, running day-to-day operations of the shingle.
Pact, which runs for as long as WBTV-produced “Gilmore” remains on the air, gives Good Game a modest development fund and covers overhead for the company. Frog net has also made a commitment to develop several projects per year with Good Game.
“My priority is still my work as an actor, but there’s so much else out there I want to do (creatively),” Graham told Daily Variety, explaining the shingle came about as a means of exploring the numerous ideas she has for potential projects. She also cited the encouragement “of a few key people in my life,” including former “Gilmore Girls” exec producer Gavin Polone.
“I like to imagine projects that have nothing to do with my involvement as an actor… (but) there are too many ideas, too many stories I’m interested in, (and) I already have a job,” she said. “I’m someone who likes to play with different ideas, likes to see how a story could be better or evolve. Hopefully, (Good Game) can foster these kinds of stories.”
What’s more, because Graham admits she’s “jumped around as an actor, I feel like I’ve had a really good variety of experiences that have given me insight into why (series) work.”
“And one of the advantages of having had so many (past) shows canceled is that I know a lot of execs at other networks,” she quipped.
Graham doesn’t plan to be an absentee owner of Good Game, arguing it’s “important for me to be present to show why I believe in my ideas.”
At the same time, she’s hired Suskind to “do the legwork of finding stories that keep up that vision” as well as manage overall development of projects.
“The difficulty is, when does Loralei Gilmore stop talking long enough to take a meeting?” Graham said.
Once seen as mere vanity deals, production companies headed by thesps have had real success in recent years launching skeins. At WBTV alone, shingles run by Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, Sandra Bullock and George Clooney all have projects headed for broadcast or cable webs.
Roth said he believes Graham is “a remarkable talent both in front of and behind the camera.”
“Her excellent taste, along with her great entrepreneurial spirit, make her a welcome addition to our outstanding roster of producers here at Warner Bros.,” Roth said.
Good Game will develop projects for multiple networks, though it seems logical many will end up at the WB.
Indeed, ICM-repped shingle already has set up “Sing,” a musical drama at the Frog from scribe Kathy Ebel.
Company’s also working on a laffer with scribe Josh Stolberg and Peter Goldfinger that revolves around a Jack Black-like nanny. Two other projects are also in the early stages of development.
WB Entertainment prexy Jordan Levin cited Graham’s “insight, intelligence and enthusiasm” as reasons for supporting the establishment of her shingle.
Graham’s upcoming feature gigs include appearing opposite Billy Bob Thornton in Dimension’s “Bad Santa.”
Suskind most recently served as director of development at Alliance Atlantis-based TurtleBack Prods., where she helped develop projects such as the CBS telepic “Hell on Hells: The Mary Kay Story.”