Fox TV Studios is beefing up its development roster, inking a first-look deal with manager-producer Larry Shuman.
Shuman, who helped put together the deal for FTVS-produced “The Shield” with client Shawn Ryan, will develop and produce series projects for the studio utilizing his clients as well as outside scribes.
While Shuman has been attached as a producer to various projects before, deal with the studio reps the first major push into production for the Shuman Co.
Pact also signals an aggressive assault into the series development front for FTVS, which — save for “Shield” — has focused its energies on telepics, minis and limited skeins.
“This is really our first year at trying to be a seller in scripted series programming,” said exec VP David Madden. “We’re going to try to (pitch) across the board, to networks and cable.”
Exec said more than a dozen scripts have already been set up at various webs, mostly on cable.
Madden’s mission is a mandate from Angela Shapiro-Mathes, the former Disney exec who took control of Fox TV Studios a little over a year ago.
FTVS has generally been involved in series production via its stake in Regency Television, producer of “Malcolm in the Middle,” “Bernie Mac” and the upcoming “Windfall.” The two are co-producing FX’s upcoming Andre Braugher skein “Thief.”
Under Madden’s unit, the studio expects to develop comedies and dramas, with an emphasis on the latter.
“Our heart is in drama, much the same way I think Regency’s heart is in comedy,” Madden said.
That’s one reason Madden set up the deal with the Shuman Co. In addition to Ryan, latter shingle reps a number of drama creators including David Shore (“House”) and Tim Minear (“The Inside”), along with feature scribes such as Carl Ellsworth (“Red Eye”).
“In trying to expand, we wanted to draw on our strength, which is that edgy, ballsy kind of drama ‘The Shield’ represents,” Madden said. “Larry really began ‘The Shield’ because he sold us a blind deal for Shawn that turned into ‘The Shield,’ and he’s remained a big part of the process ever since.
“He has a knack for finding the kinds of writers who develop the kinds of shows we want to do, and he’s not just a manager hanging on his clients,” Madden added. “He has a really good sense of story and development.”
Shuman said he’s “in the process of hiring a full-time TV person” to oversee development, though his entire staff will work on the deal.
In addition to its deal with the Shuman Co., FTVS recently set up pacts with Mikkel Bondesen’s Fuse Entertainment (Daily Variety, July 14) and advertising company Crispin Porter + Bogusky.