Producer Mark Johnson, who’s readying the undercover cop drama “Falcone” for a midseason bow on CBS, has inked an overall development deal with Columbia TriStar Television.
Johnson also has a deal in place with CBS to develop up to three scripts over the next year. He branched out into the TV arena last year with the Eye’s medical drama “L.A. Doctors” after making his name as a producer on such pics as “Diner,” “The Natural,” “Good Morning, Vietnam,” “Rain Man,” “Donnie Brasco” and “Home Fries.”
On the film side, Mark Johnson Prods. is based at DreamWorks, which is set to release the Tim Allen starrer “Galaxy Quest” in December. In November, Johnson will reunite with former partner Barry Levinson when production begins on the comedy “An Everlasting Piece” in Ireland.
Johnson said it has been creatively gratifying to move freely between the film and TV arenas. Shepherding projects for Johnson are his production prexy Elizabeth Cantillon and development veep Tiffany Daniels.
“My goal is not to become a prolific TV supplier, but to be able to do a handful of things that I can get excited about,” Johnson said.
“I’ve been very impressed with the executives at both the network and production companies I’ve dealt with — they’re every bit as bright as their feature counterparts,” he added, noting that TV work demands a much faster pace for the decision-making and greenlighting process.
Johnson’s new TV development deal formalizes his ties to Col TriStar, which produced last season’s CBS drama “L.A. Doctors.” It’s also the home of “Falcone,” based on the lead character from the TriStar-produced “Donnie Brasco.”
“Based on the tremendous experience that we’ve had working with Mark and his company, making this deal was a huge priority for us,” said Sarah Timberman, exec VP of series development for Col TriStar. “We know that the projects we develop will reflect the passion and intelligence that are his trademark.”
While “Donnie Brasco” chronicled an undercover cop’s emotional ties to the mob family he was trying to infiltrate, the “Falcone” series headed to CBS will emphasize the intensity of the character’s double life and how it affects his relationship with his wife and two kids.
Johnson is also in the early stages of developing a contemporary Los Angeles detective drama with scribe John Lee Hancock, his creative partner on “L.A. Doctors.”
Johnson is repped for TV by Chris Silbermann of Broder Kurland Webb Uffner and for film by Creative Artists Agency.