Media Rights Capital gets in tube groove
After making its mark in film, indie studio Media Rights Capital is now mounting a strong smallscreen push, starting with a 13-episode order from ABC for a new animated series from Mike Judge.“The Goode Family,” which is also from “King of the Hill” exec producers John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky, reps the first animated project for Judge since “Hill” launched in 1997. Headlines from the deal also include a 10-episode order for an animated series at HBO, as well as a high-concept scripted laffer at Comedy Central. In addition, Lifetime has agreed to a blind series deal with MRC. NBC and Fox also have scripts in the works from the company; at the same time, MRC has struck business partnerships with scribes such as “The Sopranos” team of Diane Frolov and Andy Schneider. Most of MRC’s content is being self-financed via the same mix of private equity and other investment that’s driven its film slate. “We’ve got a $250 million film slate, millions in digital and investors like Goldman Sachs and other players,” MRC co-chief executive officer Modi Wiczyk said. “We’re a different kind of studio, financially equipped to capitalize on opportunity. Capital is not constrained here.” What’s more, MRC’s recent interim agreement with the WGA has allowed the company to get a head start on production while most of the town has remained crippled by the strike, according to MRC television prexy Keith Samples. As a result, shows like “The Goode Family” are already back to work, even before the strike ends. “As a practical matter, signing the waiver gave us a big advantage in getting going on a lot of these things that were sitting on hold,” he said. “It allowed us to start working on projects and get some traction.” As for the specifics of MRC’s slate, ABC’s “The Goode Family” marks the Alphabet’s first stab at an animated show since “Clerks.” Show centers on a do-gooder family that tries to do the right thing in all facets of life . MRC will handle overseas distribution of the project. “The Goode Family’s” Altschuler and Krinsky are also at work on a film project for MRC. HBO, meanwhile, is making MRC’s “The Life and Times of Tim” its first animated series since 1997’s “Spawn.” Created (and voiced) by former ad exec Steve Dildarian, laffer revolves around a single, offbeat guy living in Gotham whose instincts lead him down the wrong paths in life. “Tim,” set to begin a 10-episode run this summer, will be exec produced by Dildarian, Werner, Jimmy Miller and Mike Clements. Project was first developed by Fox and Warner Bros. TV; WBTV still maintains a passive stake in the show. Also getting a series order: MRC’s “Krod Mandoon,” a six-episode live-action laffer for Comedy Central that’s slated for an early 2009 debut. Peter Knight created and will exec produce the series, a workplace comedy set in the Middle Ages. At Lifetime, MRC has pacted with Lifetime for a blind three-for-one series deal. Studio will shoot three comedy pilots for the cabler, which has agreed to order at least one to series this fall. Also in the works at MRC: • Fox is developing three projects with the studio. “DNA” is a one-hour drama from Frolov and Schneider that’s being produced in conjunction with U.K. production shingle Hat Trick. On the comedy front, Steve Levinson (“Entourage”) is exec producing the scripts “Loaded” and “Pedro” via MRC. • NBC has acquired an untitled half-hour comedy from scribe Eric Zickland and thesp Dave Koechner. • As previously reported, MRC is behind MTV Networks’ remake of “Name That Tune,” which will air distinct versions on MTV, CMT and VH1 (Daily Variety, Oct. 23).