Lynda Obst and Marc Rosen are plunging into television, inking a first-look deal at CBS Paramount Network Television.
Duo have already set up several projects around town with talent such as Davis Guggenheim (“An Inconvenient Truth”), John Stockwell (“Turistas”) and Alan Taylor (“The Sopranos”) attached. They’re also in finals talks with the CW about a one -hour series based on the Obst-produced pic “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.”
Deal with CBS Par stemmed from Rosen’s previous work with the studio on “Threshold,” the CBS sci-fi drama from 2005 that Rosen exec produced. He had a positive experience with the studio’s exec team, and Obst “responded the same way I did to the people here” after meeting them, Rosen said.
Producers formed Rosen-Obst Prods. last spring, and hinted at the time that they’d be looking to step up their TV activity (Daily Variety, March 20). Deal with CBS Par, however, reps their first foray into series development.
Obst said she’s attracted to the medium for many of the same reasons other filmmakers have ventured into TV: quick turnaround of projects and the chance to explore themes that can’t be tackled in two hours.
“I can take writers I love in features and transform their work into continuing characters,” she said. “And I particularly love television these days. There are no limits to the kinds of genres we can explore, and between network and cable, there’s an explosion of creative opportunities.”
Rosen said he’s hoping to get one or two pilots picked up this season, working in both broadcast and cable. As for types of shows, Obst said she wants to develop things that are ahead of the Zeitgeist.
Duo are also looking to mount some F/X-heavy projects, taking advantage of the advances in technology that allow TV shows to duplicate some of the big screen’s razzle-dazzle. Rosen said CBS Par has been supportive in allowing him and Obst to develop what he calls “green screen shows.”
“You want to create things that are emotionally stimulating but also visually stimulating,” he said. “For feature people who want to operate in television, we’re in a golden age. There’s so much you can accomplish.”
As for the details of their first slate, Rosen-Obst and CBS Par are putting the final touches on a deal to set up the script “How- To Girl” at the CW.
Based on “How to Lose A Guy,” project would once again focus on a female magazine columnist and her misadventures in love as she writes her how-to column. Rosen, Obst and Christine Peters are set to exec produce, with David Newman and Keith Merryman writing and co-exec producing.
Also at the CW, Obst and Rosen are exec producing “Undercover,” which is an updated “21 Jump Street.” Charley and Vlas Parlapanides are writing the script and will serve as co-exec producers, while Stockwell is attached to direct and serve as exec producer. Nicole Rocklin is also on board as a co-exec producer
CBS, meanwhile, is developing an Rosen-Obst script called “Utopia,” a procedural drama that deals with cyber crimes. Eric Heisserer (“Inhuman”) will write, with Taylor attached to direct and exec produce.
Eye is also invested in “Mind Fields,” which focuses on a team that uses brain imagery to solve crimes. Ronnie Christensen (“Passengers”) is writing and will co-exec produce. Guggenheim will serve as exec producer and is attached to direct the pilot.