Deal is the first of its kind for the firm
Under the multiyear pact, Prince will create projects, as well as recruit other writers and oversee outside development brought into Madison Road — all with a branded entertainment component.
Deal is the first of its kind for Madison Road, which has found success working with clients, such as NBC’s “The Apprentice,” in integrating advertisers into their shows.
Company, which has been actively expanding its production roster, is partnered with Imagine TV and Magical Elves to produce the unscripted series “Treasure Hunters” for NBC, and it has the alternative pilot “Desperate Measures” in the works at TNT.
Eschewing a traditional studio or network deal, Prince said he was drawn to Madison Road through its experimentation with series financing models.
“Making a deal with these guys is a chance to say to the networks, ‘I’m going to bring in money that augments the license fee, lessens the studio deficit and encourages advertisers to spend more on 30-second spots,’ ” he said. “This allows you as a writer to finance what you’re passionate about.”
Prince is already familiar with product integration, having partnered with Campbell Soup, Kraft and Ford on “American Dreams.”
When that show wound up on the bubble last season, Madison Road toppers Tom Mazza and Jak Severson approached Prince about partnering and pitching NBC on ways to reduce costs on the skein.
But “Dreams” didn’t make it back to the Peacock, and Prince said he found himself wishing he’d come up with a brand integration model at the series’ onset.
“If a show can make financial sense, even with a limited rating, they’ll keep it on the air,” Prince said. “This is a model that works for me as a writer. The crisis is, how do we keep quality shows on the air when the networks are losing ad dollars? We have to think of a new model that involves advertisers in the process early enough.”
Mazza said he and Prince shared a “common vision for the future of television.”
“As the showrunner for ‘American Dreams,’ Jonathan was one of the first producers to recognize the value of branded entertainment,” he said.
Prince’s credits also include helming the feature “Camp Nowhere” and telepic “The Great Mom Swap.” In series, he exec produced “Grown Ups,” “Ask Harriet” and “My Life as a Sitcom” and directed segs of “Blossom,” “Party of Five” and “Dream On.”