In a deal that reflects several trends in TV production, three rising novelists have inked a first-look development pact with Slingshot Global Media, the banner backed by private equity giant TPG.
Scribes Brian McGreevy, Lee Shipman and Philipp Meyer have formed El Jefe, a production company that aims to develop TV projects with the goal of helping novelists make the transition to writing for TV.
This is seen as fertile ground for finding fresh TV voices, on the heels of Nic Pizzolatto scoring a hit with HBO’s “True Detective” and “Gone Girl” author Gillian Flynn teaming with David Fincher for another HBO series, “Utopia.” Other examples of novelists scoring on the small screen in recent years include Noah Hawley, shepherd of FX’s “Fargo,” and Elwood Reid, exec producer of FX’s “The Bridge.”
Los Angeles-based El Jefe has optioned two books to develop into series, Meyer’s “American Rust,” about a murder that tears apart a small Pennsylvania town; and Wil S. Hylton’s “Vanished,” about the 60-year search for missing WWII bomber pilots.
Slingshot was formed in February with a bankroll from TPG Growth, a unit of the Fort Worth, Texas-based equity giant whose media and entertainment investments include a sizable position in CAA. Former FremantleMedia chief David Ellender is spearheading Slingshot as CEO, with Fox Broadcasting alum Quan Phung as head of scripted television.
“McGreevy, Shipman, and Meyer are talented writers who have proven themselves as entrepreneurial producers,” said Ellender in announcing the deal.
McGreevy’s book resume includes “Hemlock Grove,” which was adapted for the Netflix series by McGreevy and Shipman. McGreevy, Shipman and Meyer are also at work on a drama adaptation for AMC of Meyer’s novel “The Son.” The trio first met as writing fellowship students at the University of Texas at Austin.
The trio said a statement they have “set out to do something groundbreaking and knew that our ambitions would best fit the television space.”
Slingshot has the broad ambition of serving as a haven for nurturing TV lit talent as well as spearheading international financing and production deals. Private equity money is starting to flow into independent TV outfits amid the growth spurt in the worldwide prospects for content licensing.