You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Trekkie Piller, son ink WB prod’n deal

Team eyeing big and small screens

Veteran “Star Trek” scribe-producer Michael Piller and his son Shawn have pacted with the WB on a two-year, multiseries drama deal that includes at least one guaranteed production commitment, three pilot script orders and a provision that calls for them to supervise script development of other projects at the Frog net.

The father-son duo have also hung out their shingle, establishing the Hollywood-based indie production company Piller2, which will develop and produce both television and feature projects.

Enterprising producer

The elder Piller co-created “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and “Star Trek: Voyager,” serving as exec producer on more than 430 hours of the three skeins. He also wrote and was a producer of the most recent “Trek” feature, “Star Trek: Insurrection.”

WB Entertainment prexy Susanne Daniels called the pact “great news” for the Frog net.

“Michael Piller is synonymous with superb quality work,” she said. “(He) is that rare breed in television in that he has duplicated his success time and time again.”

After working with the WB on an unsold pilot last season, the Pillers maintained an open line of communication with the net that led to discussions on projects for 2000-01 and a blind pilot production commitment. As the WB’s interest in the potential skeins grew, the two camps decided to spread out development of the Piller pilots over two seasons via a multiproject deal.

“We’ve found everything we could want from a creative entity at the WB,” Michael Piller told Daily Variety, adding that Frog development execs “are very passionate people. They’re trying to take risks and bring viewers to new places. We feel very supported there.”

In the works

Among the WB projects in the works from Piller2:

  • a two-hour pilot being produced with Paramount that the elder Piller calls “a contemporary spiritual fantasy with heavy special effects” that’s based on an original concept of sci-fi scribe Orson Scott Card;

  • a Hitchcockian thriller skein in the tradition of “North by Northwest.” Pilot is a collaboration with Alan Spencer (“Sledge Hammer!”);

  • a futuristic adventure skein that, while not set in space, is on a “Star Trek”-size scale, with Granada Television is attached as a co-producer;

  • The elder Piller and scribe Brie Shaffer are working on a contemporary character-driven fantasy.

All four projects have script orders from the WB. The go pilot commitment will be applied to one of the projects, with the other scripts candidates to be greenlit over the next two years.

Harvesting talent

In addition to cranking out series, and eventually features, the Pillers hope to use their company as a lab for developing new writing talent. The company may even develop some scripts on spec “simply to show the networks that there are these writers out there who can deliver,” Michael Piller said.

The elder Piller, who had been under an overall deal at Par until last May, continues as a creative consultant on UPN’s “Star Trek: Voyager.” While he was an exec on “Next Generation,” the skein was nominated for a best drama Emmy.

Shawn Piller has written segs of “Next Generation” and “Voyager.” He’s also been an indie film producer for films such as “Too Pure,” “Oakland Underground” and “The Lovely Leave.”

Deal was brokered by Rob Rothman of the Rothman Agency and lawyer Steve Katz. The Pillers are also repped by Rosalie Swedlin of Industry.

More TV

  • Telemundo to Launch English-Language Newscast With

    Telemundo to Launch First English-Language Newscast on YouTube (EXCLUSIVE)

    NBCUniversal’s Hispanic broadcaster Telemundo is developing its first English-language newscast in collaboration with YouTube in a bid to tap the burgeoning U.S. Hispanic youth demographic. Borne out of a YouTube grant aimed at awarding journalism projects that “elevate quality journalism, evolve business models to drive sustainable growth, and empower news organizations through technological innovation,” Telemundo News’ [...]


    How the HFPA Celebrated History with 2019 Golden Globe Nominees

    The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. often prides itself on being trendsetting when it comes to recognizing new talent and programming, and the 2019 crop of nominees certainly follows that pattern. But sometimes celebrating something new actually means celebrating something old, in the form of storytelling that explores key eras in history. FX Soviet spy drama [...]

  • Ryan Murphy - Outstanding Directing for

    Ryan Murphy to Be Honored by Costume Designers Guild

    The Costume Designers Guild has selected Ryan Murphy as the recipient of its distinguished collaborator award. The producer will be honored at the 21st Costume Designers Guild Awards on Feb. 19 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. The distinguished collaborator award honors individuals who demonstrate “unwavering support” of costume design and creative partnerships with [...]

  • 'Dark Crystal' Series Cast Includes Nathalie

    'Dark Crystal' Series Voice Cast Includes Nathalie Emmanuel, Taron Egerton

    The upcoming “Dark Crystal” series at Netflix has announced a stacked voice cast. Leading the cast for “The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance” are Taron Egerton, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Nathalie Emmanuel as Rian, Brea and Deet, three Gelfling heroes. Other Gelfling characters are voiced by: Caitriona Balfe, Helena Bonham-Carter, Harris Dickinson, Natalie Dormer, Eddie Izzard, [...]

  • Greek forensic experts search outside the

    Greece Condemns Bombing of TV and Radio Broadcaster

    The Greek government has condemned the bombing of a major media group in Athens as an “attack by cowardly and dark forces against democracy itself.” No injuries were reported in the powerful dead-of-night blast outside the offices of the Skai TV channel and radio network. The building also houses leading daily newspaper Kathimerini, which is [...]

  • Kathleen FinchDiscovery Executive Session panel, TV

    Discovery Builds HGTV Companion to TLC's 'Say Yes to the Dress' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Discovery is readying a home-improvement version of TLC favorite “Say Yes To The Dress,” a signal that the company is working to maximize opportunities to make use of the Scripps cable networks  – including HGTV – it acquired earlier this year. The long-running bridal fashion show will return for a new season on Saturday, January [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content