Russo brothers sign two-year deal with studio
“Arrested Development” helmers Joe and Anthony Russo are setting up shop at Touchstone Television, inking a seven-figure pact to direct and produce series for the studio.
Two-year deal is designed to move the Emmy-winning Russo brothers beyond directing pilots and establish them as developers and producers of series projects. Duo cite J.J. Abrams’ Touchstone-based Bad Robot, run by Thom Sherman, as inspiration.
“We’ve had success as directors, and now we’re trying to create our own company and brand as producers,” said Joe Russo, who most recently joined with brother Anthony to direct the pilot for “What About Brian,” an Abrams-produced ABC dramedy bowing in January.
Russos are four-for-four when it comes to snagging series orders for pilots they direct. In the past four years, they’ve landed greenlights for FX laffer “Lucky,” Fox’s “Arrested Development,” NBC’s “LAX” and “Brian.” They won an Emmy for “Arrested.”
Pair’s most recent overall deal was a one-year pact at 20th Century Fox TV.
Under the new Touchstone deal, the Russos are also locked in to direct at least one pilot project each year.
Siblings “are talking to people we may bring in to run the company and help us with development,” said Joe Russo.
Anthony Russo said the nature of his relationship with younger brother Joe made producing a logical next step for the siblings.
“TV is such an intensely collaborative medium, and the basis of our relationship is collaboration,” said Anthony, noting Touchstone and ABC’s inclination to foster cooperation with creative types also contributed to the decision to ink with Touchstone.
“We found in our working experience there that they had definitive opinions but they were still respectful of everything we were trying to achieve,” he said. “It was the opposite of your network horror story.”
Asked to describe the kinds of projects they plan to develop, Joe Russo said the goal is to find ideas “that are unique and at the same time broadly accessible.”
Outside of the Touchstone deal, the UTA-repped Russos are already developing the dramas “City Hall” (Daily Variety, April 8) and “Motel Novella” (Daily Variety, Oct. 11).
The Russos remain busy on the feature front as well, most recently inking to direct Paramount’s “Dad Can’t Lose” (Daily Variety, April 28). Duo, who helmed “Welcome to Collinwood,” are also attached to an untitled Chuck Martin feature set up at Universal via Imagine and Principato-Young.