Fremantle, Pukeko in first-look deal

TV development eyed with Weta-affiliated shingle

FremantleMedia Enterprises has signed a first-look deal with Pukeko Pictures, the TV affiliate of “Lord of the Rings” production shingle Weta Workshop, to develop scripted television series.

The partners will attempt to take advantage of the Weta Workshop facilities and the Wellington, New Zealand, film and television production industry. The companies have jointly hired Adam Fratto to head development of new television projects for the global market, working out of FremantleMedia’s Los Angeles office.

Fratto will report to Martin Baynton, who co-owns Pukeko with Richard Taylor, and work alongside FremantleMedia Enterprises senior global content veep Jeff Tahler and FremantleMedia North America senior scripted programming VP Tony Optican.

“The teams at Pukeko and Weta Workshop are respected the world over for their work at the cutting edge of the film and television industry,” FremantleMedia Enterprises global CEO David Ellender said. “Adam’s appointment provides tremendous opportunities, allowing for incredibly close collaboration between our two organizations on the development, financing and production of ambitious and innovative new scripted content.”

Pukeko Pictures is affiliated with Weta Workshop through founding partners Taylor and Tania Rodger, known for their work on films including the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, “King Kong,” “Avatar,” “The Adventures of Tintin” and “The Hobbit” as well as on television shows “Hercules” and “Xena.”

Fratto previously led development at Atticus Entertainment under a first-look deal with HBO and also has served as co-executive producer of Syfy series “Haven.” He also oversaw development at Piller/Segan.

“Together with (FremantleMedia Enterprises) and Adam,” Taylor said, “we look forward to creating high-quality and universally appealing productions. Adam brings to the partnership years of industry experience with Atticus Entertainment and Piller/Segan, and we are thrilled to announce his appointment.”

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