Partners to scout material for scripted programming

FremantleMedia and Random House have teamed to develop scripted TV programs through the newly created Random House Television imprint.

Pact calls for the pair to work with Random House authors and editors to scout for material to be developed for U.S. and international markets. Random House TV, part of the publisher’s Random House Studio entertainment division, will be headed by prexy Peter Gethers.

The venture unites two companies controlled by German media giant Bertelsmann, which owns Random House outright and 90% of Fremantle. Random House has a similar arrangement on the film side with Focus Features that has yielded numerous projects. Television is a natural extension for Random House because the marketplace is so much bigger, Gethers told Variety.

“Now we have the ability to really develop our authors and use the extensive editorial staff we have here to scour for great material,” he said. Gethers said the development prospects are not limited to books published by Random House. “We’re not going to be just book-centric but author-centric,” he said.

Random House TV has recruited Jeffrey Levine, a former Turner Broadcasting development exec who mostly recently with Spring Creek Prods., as head of television. Levine will be based in Los Angeles and work closely with FremantleMedia’s Jeff Tahler, senior veep of global content, and Tony Optican, senior veep of scripted programming. Joining Levine in L.A. will be Christina Malach, exec story editor for Random House Studio.

UTA brokered the deal with Fremantle for Random House Studio.

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