The deal, believed to run four years, calls for Levy to develop TV projects exclusively for Netflix. As part of the agreement, former ABC and Firm executive Josh Barry has joined Levy’s 21 Laps Entertainment as president of TV.
Netflix’s pact with Levy marks another bold investment in a top creative by Netflix, which is expanding its influence into production by setting overall deals directly with showrunners such as Shonda Rhimes and Jenji Kohan. Levy’s pact is said to be an eight-figure deal in total.
“Shawn and 21 Laps are courageous and adept storytellers who lean into risk both narratively and by nurturing great young talent,” said Cindy Holland, VP of original content for Netflix. “They have an admirable track record for telling ambitious stories that have incredible heart and which resonate with audiences all over the world.”
Levy, known in the film world for the “Night at the Museum” franchise, championed “Stranger Things,” a project from neophyte producers Matt and Ross Duffer. The series turned into a sleeper hit for Netflix in the summer of 2016 and has maintained its momentum with season two, which dropped in October. When Levy found himself a free agent in TV with 21 Laps, it wasn’t a hard call to hitch up with Netflix.
“I don’t know any other company that would have taken a chance on a show about kids and inter-dimensional monsters, created by young unknown twin brothers and produced by a movie director’s production company. Netflix did, and they bet big, and it’s been truly thrilling to take this wild ride with such exceptional partners,” Levy said. “My aspiration for 21 Laps has always been to create content that is eclectic, bold, humanist and surprising. As such, Netflix is the perfect home for us and our collaborators.”
Barry has spent the past six years as head of TV and a partner in Jeff Kwatinetz’s management-production venture the Firm. Before that he spent 10 years with ABC Studios and ABC. Barry most recently helped shepherd the WGN America drama series “Salem,” the Netflix comedy “Haters Back Off,” and the ABC drama “Notorious.”
Levy is repped by WME.