Company to develop scripted projects
Generate, the production/management shingle launched three years ago in part by former WB topper Jordan Levin and ex-Regency TV prexy Peter Aronson, has sealed an overall television pact with 20th Century Fox TV.
Multiyear deal means Generate will exclusively develop and produce scripted fare for broadcast and cable nets through 20th; the studio also will get a crack at Generate’s alternative and reality projects under a first-look arrangement.
Deal reps one of the few major overall pacts recently sealed amid this rough economy. Twentieth’s Jennifer Nicholson-Salke, exec VP of creative affairs, said the studio was sold on Levin’s and Aronson’s experience, as well as their plans for Generate.
“They want to reinvent the way we do our business financially,” Nicholson-Salke said. “And we obviously have a long history with both Pete and Jordan. They have the experience and the taste and are motivated to do new things.”
Besides working on co-productions with 20th while at Regency, Aronson also exec produced “Bernie Mac” for the studio. Levin, meanwhile, developed several series with 20th while at the WB, including “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”
“We recognize that in the scripted TV world, a partnership is beneficial, and working with the support of a studio that produces as diverse a slate as they do is an advantage,” said Levin, who serves as Generate CEO. “We create content with a platform-agnostic approach, but there are a number of ideas we come across that feel like the primary platform should be TV.”
Given Generate’s comedy focus — and Generate Management’s stable of comedy-targeted talent — Levin and Aronson said they will pay particular attention to developing primetime laffers.
“We came up in those systems — Witt-Thomas for me, Disney for Jordan,” said Aronson, president of Generate Studios. “We miss those shows; we want to make those shows. It’s still a viable genre and format. And 20th, off the success of ‘How I Met Your Mother,’ realizes that there is still a market for those shows.”
Generate’s previous deal, with MTV, encompassed all platforms. But now that digital video has migrated to an ad-supported model, Levin said it made sense to work independently in that space.
“That’s why we raised funds to support the studio approach,” Levin said.
Generate raised $6 million in funding last year from investors including MK Capital and Velocity Interactive Group.
Generate’s recent TV fare includes the Comedy Central parody skein “Chocolate News,” starring David Alan Grier, and BET’s first original scripted series, “Somebodies.” Company also produced the Web series “Republicrats” and “Pink: The Series.” Generate already has two projects in the works at Fox unrelated to the 20th deal.
On the management side, led by partners Kara Welker, Dave Rath and Jared Hoffman, Generate has expanded its rep ranks to eight — recently adding Chris Pollack and Will Lowery to the team.
Levin and Aronson said there will be opportunities for Generate clients to fit into the 20th projects when it makes sense.
“This is a company with a strong senior team and two divisions, the studio and management, that are equally weighted,” Levin said. “They could exist without the other, but benefit from one another.”