New Franchise pacts with Jeffrey Archer

Deal covers film, TV and digital rights for 10 titles

Bestselling British author and controversial politico Jeffrey Archer will team up with Toronto-based New Franchise Media in a deal for worldwide film, TV and digital rights for 10 of Archer’s action and drama titles.

New Franchise, an intellectual property rights company backed by private financiers, will work with producers and studios in the U.S. and abroad to develop the books into features, TV movies and miniseries.

Company is headed by Toronto businessmen Jeffrey Steiner and Mark Romoff, who set it up expressly to secure and develop the rights to Archer’s works, which include spy-thriller trilogy “A Matter of Honor,” “Honor Among Thieves” and “The Eleventh Commandment.”

“The stories of Jeffrey Archer are hugely popular in domestic and international markets,” said New Franchise exec VP Romoff.

Many of Archer’s tomes have been bestsellers, beginning with “Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less” in 1976.

New Franchise will fund development at the script stage. First up is crime caper “False Impression,” envisioned as an international co-production.

Archer’s success as a novelist helped him rise in politics, though he served two years in prison for perjury. He’s still a member of the House of Lords, and continues to be known for his colorful quotes.

New Franchise plans to re-issue Archer’s “Kane & Abel,” which was adapted into a 1985 U.S. miniseries. Steiner and Romoff are both Toronto business leaders. Steiner has developed major real estate projects for the film and media biz, including the new Pinewood Studios Toronto on the Toronto waterfront that’s operated by Pinewood-Shepperton Studios.

“Anyone who can get a major new film studio built, especially without any government subsidy, is just the type of chap that can navigate through the madness of Hollywood,” Archer said.

Romoff leads an international consulting practice with a focus on global trade, investment and innovation strategy. He also is an advisor to governments in Canada and abroad.

Archer’s success as a novelist helped him rise quickly in politics. After being elected to the House of Commons in 1969, he was appointed deputy chairman of the Conservative Party in 1985 by Margaret Thatcher.

But his political career largely ended when he resigned as a candidate for the London mayoral race in 2000 because of allegations that he committed perjury during a 1987 libel trial. He was ultimately convicted of perjury and served two years in prison. He’s still a member of the House of Lords, and continues to be known for his colorful quotes.

As part of its deal with Archer, New Franchise plans to re-issue Archer’s most popular novel, “Kane & Abel.” The 1985 tome was adapted into a U.S. miniseries and has had 85 printings and been published in 37 languages in 97 countries.

New Franchise VP of partnership development Dianne Schwalm — previously topper of Warner Bros. Canada — said the idea is to partner with co-financiers and established producers to develop Archer’s “compelling characters and unique storylines” for the bigscreen.

Steiner and Romoff are both Toronto business leaders. Steiner has developed major real estate projects for the film and media biz, including the new Pinewood Studios Toronto on the Toronto waterfront that’s operated by Pinewood-Shepperton Studios.

“Anyone who can get a major new film studio built, especially without any government subsidy, is just the type of chap that can navigate through the madness of Hollywood,” Archer said. Romoff leads an international consulting practice with a focus on global trade, investment and innovation strategy. He also serves as an advisor to governments in Canada and abroad.

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