Touchstone Television is taking its development north this season, inking a first-look deal with San Francisco-based Q Media Partners.
Headed by former NBC and KQED programming exec Peter Calabrese, QMP is a production/management company that focuses on Bay Area talent. It launched three years ago with an overall deal at HBO.
New pact will give Touchstone first dibs on QMP’s scripted development.
“Our business is being a conduit for people and ideas that couldn’t get arrested (in Hollywood), not for lack of talent but for lack of contacts,” Calabrese said.
His exec team includes former NBC and Fox exec Alan Sternfeld; former MSG Enterprises exec Steven Alper; Kim Swann, previously with Arsenio Hall Communications; and David Mekles, formerly of CAA.
Nets and studios frequently talk of wanting to cast a wider net when it comes to finding new talent but often don’t feel comfortable dealing with those outside the usual L.A.-Gotham loop, Calabrese noted.
What’s more, S.F. talent can be equally clueless about Hollywood.
“There’s this intangible thing in San Francisco: They’re a little arrogant,” Calabrese said. “They think, I’m not going to sell out. I’m going to sit in a coffeehouse and complain.”
Bridging the gap between the two cities is QMP’s chief goal, Calabrese said.
“San Francisco deserves to have a stronger national media presence than it does,” he said. “There are a lot of assets up here that aren’t being used.”
Touchstone prexy Mark Pedowitz said the deal was already yielding dividends, noting the studio has put one of QMP’s ideas into development.
“They provide a unique perspective by bringing new ideas and talent to the mainstream,” he said. “I believe their vision of teaming new voices with seasoned professionals will lead to some very innovative, and high-quality television for our audience.”
Emperor of crime
Calabrese said QMP and Touchstone were working on a cop drama, dubbed “Napoleon,” that’s based on the life of San Francisco homicide detective Napoleon Hendrix.
He said Jeb Stuart (“The Fugitive”) is in talks to write the script and that thesp Michael Clarke Duncan has also expressed an interest in the project.
Outside of the Touchstone deal, QMP is also developing a storytelling pilot for TV Land with scribe/poet Beth Lisick.