Studio taking Olmstead to 'Prison'
After seven years working the Steven Bochco beat, former “NYPD Blue” exec producer Matt Olmstead is relocating to the 20th Century Fox TV precinct via a two-year overall deal with the studio.
Seven-figure pact calls for Olmstead to come aboard as exec producer of Fox’s buzzworthy late summer skein “Prison Break,” joining series creator Paul Scheuring and exec producer Mike Pavone as showrunner. Olmstead will also develop and exec produce original projects for 20th.
Scribe co-created and exec produced Bochco’s “Blind Justice,” the Ron Eldard starrer that just ended its midseason run on ABC. He also exec produced “Blue” from 2002-04, having worked on the skein as producer since 1999.
Olmstead started working as an assistant for Bochco and got bumped up after a freelance script Olmstead wrote caught Bochco’s eye.
Bochco’s blessing played a big part in hooking up 20th and Olmstead.
“Steven was always speaking of Matt very highly, and I respect Steven’s point of view on writers,” said 20th prexy Dana Walden.
“He knows the ins and outs of production, but he’s also the kind of guy who will fit in nicely with younger writers who need supervision,” Walden added, describing his writing as “inspired.”
Olmstead said he began meeting with studios when it became clear “Blind Justice” would likely not be returning for a second season. Meeting with Walden and other studio execs made him realize that “working for Bochco is like working on an island. It’s a tremendous island, but it’s an island.”
“When I met with Dana (and other 20th drama execs), I immediately felt desired,” Olmstead added.
Walden immediately wanted Olmstead to think about “Prison Break,” and at first, the scribe hesitated.
“I’d worked on cop procedurals for seven years, and when I read the script for ‘Prison Break,’ I thought it was brilliant but I said, ‘Can I do this?'” Olmstead recalled.
He ultimately decided he could.
“It’s a whole new world, a whole new format, but at the same time very ambitious and compelling,” Olmstead said.
In addition to “Blue” and “Blind Justice,” Olmstead co-created and produced the Bochco pilot “NY2069.”