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Working Title enters TV biz

First title is 'Love Bites' for NBC

Brit production powerhouse Working Title is launching a dedicated TV shingle.

The banner, dubbed Working Title Television, marks the company’s first concerted foray into smallscreen production.

Working Title has already established itself as one of the foremost film companies in the world and enjoyed success with its stage adaptation of the hit pic “Billy Elliot,” with the tuner winning 10 Tony awards last year.

Working Title co-toppers Eric Fellner and Tim Bevan, and NBC Universal international prexy Peter Smith, have tapped former NBC Universal TV exec Shelley McCrory to head the company, which will be a joint venture between Working Title and NBC Universal Intl.

Working Title Television will be based in London and L.A.

McCrory will report directly to Fellner and Bevan and spearhead the development of comedy and drama properties for both U.K. and U.S. broadcasters, with U.S. projects likely to be a priority initially. The shingle will utilize Bevan and Fellner’s extensive talent relationships on both sides of the Atlantic.

The first commission out of Working Title TV is NBC U pilot “Love Bites,” created by Cindy Chupack (“Sex and the City”) and based on the one-hour romantic comedy anthology. Emmy Award-winning director Marc Buckland (“My Name Is Earl”) is attached to helm, with Bevan, Fellner and McCrory exec producing.

NBC U will distribute WTTV projects.

Working Title Films is majority owned by NBC Universal.

McCrory previously worked as part of the creative team behind shows such as “Friends,” “The Office” and “30 Rock.”

Juliette Howell has been tapped as the U.K.’s head of television to oversee the Brit production slate. She previously served as exec producer in the BBC Drama commissioning group. Her credits include “Slumdog Millionaire,” “Enduring Love” and “Second Generation.”

“What Tim and I have enjoyed doing in over 20 years of making films, as well as recently dipping our toes in theater with ‘Billy Elliot,’ is telling good stories on whatever medium was appropriate,” said Fellner. “The move into TV is an obvious place that we had to go into. It’s an exciting time to be doing this and it adds another spoke to our wheel.”

Fellner and Bevan have been mulling a concerted expansion into TV for some time. The two mavens may dip into Working Title’s extensive library, including past hits such as “Bridget Jones,” “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and “Burn After Reading,” for potential adaptation into skeins.

Fellner and Bevan’s pics have earned more than $4 billion at the box office worldwide.

“It is NBC Universal’s goal to build an international pipeline of high-end scripted drama, and we couldn’t have partnered with a more respected and successful team than Tim and Eric,” said NBC U’s Smith. “This joint venture represents a vital building block toward creating a compelling body of quality TV content.”

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