Thomas Schlamme, the director-exec producer who partnered with Aaron Sorkin on “The West Wing” and “Sports Night,” is looking to ramp up his TV output.
As part of an aggressive smallscreen expansion, Schlamme’s Shoe Money shingle has landed projects in development at NBC, ABC, FX, A&E and Showtime.
Schlamme said the move reps a “real conscious decision” to focus on his producing efforts after spending much of his time serving as a permanent inhouse director on series.
My life has been ‘I’ve got to work on one project and one project only,'” he said. “But I really wanted Shoe Money to be a part of the TV game as much as my individual self. As I began to produce more, I realized that the joy of that is to find many different writers to work with and different avenues to pursue.”
Expansion also comes following Schlamme’s departure from his longtime Warner Bros. TV home and move to Sony Pictures TV, where he has a first-look deal.
Shoe Money’s crop of projects, under the direction of production head Julie DeJoie, include NBC comedy entry “The Book Group.”
Project, in the script stage, is an adaptation of the U.K. comedy/drama shown on Channel 4. U.S. ex-pat Annie Griffin, who wrote the series across the pond, will adapt it for U.S. auds. Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly are attached as exec producers along with Schlamme.
(Griffin) has such a unique voice, and that’s what Shoe Money is looking for,” he said.
At Showtime, Schlamme has lined up the script “Westbridge.” Penned by Kelly Marcel, the drama centers on a group of workers who make up the tie-down team in an execution chamber at a Texas prison.
Schlamme, DeJoie and Marcel just returned from Huntsville, Texas, where they did research for the project.
It’s not about an execution of the week, but about a group of people and how they carry on in their lives, given what they do,” he said.
Schlamme also has the police drama “Back-Up,” written by Robert Munic, set up at A&E. That hourlong follows a brother and sister who serve as police partners. The siblings, who hail from a Jewish family in Chicago, are hit hard after their dad is found guilty of being a corrupt cop.
Munic is currently doing rewrites on that project.
Among previously announced fare, Schlamme is also working on ABC’s Matthew Perry project, in which the former “Friends” star plays a sports arena manager who hits a midlife crisis at 40.
Matthew wanted to do a show, and I was flattered that he would call me,” said Schlamme, who worked with the star on “Friends,” “West Wing” and “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.” “We thought this was a great backdrop for an office-set show and very exciting visually,” he said.
Perry is penning the script with Alex Barnow and Marc Firek. Jamie Tarses, who once served as Schlamme’s network boss, is his exec producing partner on the project.
Also at the Alphabet, Schlamme is working on the single-camera buddy comedy “Boyfred,” written by Alan Schmuckler, Michael Mahler, Blake Silver and Jarrod Zimmerman.
On the cable side, Schlamme said he and FX are waiting for the proper time to move forward with “AR2,” Paul Scheuring’s take on the events that lead up to a second American revolution. “In this political climate, we’re waiting to see where we all land,” he said. “In the case of ‘The West Wing,’ we waited a year to let the Monica Lewinsky scandal die down.”
About to be pitched to networks is a one-hour drama to be written by Jane Alexander. Schlamme said the concept is still under wraps as he and Alexander further develop it. Industry Entertainment is producing that project; it’s also working with Schlamme on another, a dramatic adaptation of the 2000 doc “From Swastika to Jim Crowe.” Drama centers on German-Jewish immigrant professors who move to the U.S. Deep South and teach at African-American colleges.
Now we’re looking for someone as passionate as we are about the project to come onboard and write it,” Schlamme said.
Schlamme is also looking at the digital space, having produced the three-episode Web series “The Road Home,” written by Patricia Foulkrod. The clips, produced with Participant Prods., center on soldiers serving in the Afghanistan war.
Sony is behind “Book Group,” “Boyfred” and the Perry dramas; the other projects are being developed outside of the studio.