You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Producer primes Col TriStar TV pact

Johnson seals three-year, seven-figure deal

Film producer Mark Johnson (“What Lies Beneath”) has sealed a three-year deal with Columbia TriStar TV to produce primetime series at the studio.

The seven-figure pact keeps Johnson’s Gran Via production shingle firmly within the Sony TV stables. Columbia TriStar and CBS Prods. are producing Johnson’s latest series “The Guardian,” which airs Tuesdays this fall on the Eye.

Although fairly new to the TV world, Johnson has already managed to land three series on the air, starting with the 1998 Ken Olin vehicle “L.A. Doctors.”

Under a previous deal, Columbia TriStar produced “L.A. Doctors,” as well as Johnson’s short-lived mob skein “Falcone,” both for CBS, where Johnson also has an overall deal. Johnson also produced the pilot “HRT” last spring for CBS.

“Our association with Mark has already yielded a number of projects,” said Tom Mazza, President, Network Television, Columbia TriStar Television. “We’re delighted to continue our relationship with him on ‘The Guardian’ and into the future.”

Johnson said he has “had a really good experience with Columbia TriStar.”

“I like Tom Mazza and his whole crew,” Johnson said. “They are clearly bright, and we seem to share a stylistic and thematic concentration. It made perfect sense for me to stay there.”

Address still CBS

Johnson also continues his relationship with CBS, where Gran Via has a pilot commitment already in place for fall 2002.

“When we did ‘L.A. Doctors,’ I truly was a babe in the woods,” he said. “CBS took me by the hand and showed me how TV worked. I’ve learned so much from (network execs) Leslie Moonves and Nancy Tellem and Nina Tassler.”

Johnson said he and his team — president Tiffany Daniel and TV development director Lindsay Sloane — will continue to focus on creating dramas but may get their feet wet in comedy as well.

“Our goal is to stay in the one-hour form,” he said. “It’s what I know best, it’s (what) the writers whom I talk to (know best). But at the same time I love TV comedy. I’d like to cautiously get involved in that world.”

Busy with bigscreen

Meanwhile, Johnson is also busy on the feature side. Gran Via just wrapped production on the upcoming drama “Dragonfly,” starring Kevin Costner, and is also producing the films “The Banger Sisters,” starring Susan Sarandon and Geoffrey Rush; “The Rookie,” with Dennis Quaid; the Dustin Hoffman/Susan Sarandon comedy “Baby’s in Black”; and “The Notebook.”

Johnson’s credits also include films such as “Diner,” “The Natural,” “Good Morning Vietnam,” “Bugsy” and “Quiz Show.”

Johnson, who’s repped on the TV side by Broder Kurland Webb Uffner, said he now hopes to duplicate his feature film success on the small screen.

“I want very much to be successful in TV,” he said. “The work in TV these days is every (bit) as strong or even better than what’s being done in the feature world.”

More TV

  • Series Mania Unveils 2019 Festival, with

    Series Mania Unveils 2019 Festival Lineup

    PARIS — Graced by Uma Thurman, “The Good Doctor” star Freddie Highmore and “Black Mirror” creators-showrunners Charlie Brooker and Anabel Jones, the 10th Series Mania – and second in Lille, north-east France – will kick off March 22 with Netflix prominent, a broader   geographical reach and a strong presence of women writers and directors. [...]

  • Black Panther

    'Black Panther,' 'Crazy Rich Asians,' 'Westworld' Among Costume Designers Guild Winners

    “Crazy Rich Asians,” “The Favourite” and “Black Panther” walked away with top honors at the 21st annual Costume Designers Guild Awards Tuesday night, the final industry guild show before the Oscars on Feb. 24. “The Favourite” and “Black Panther” are up for the Oscar this year, along with “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” “Mary Poppins [...]

  • Syfy Cancels 'Nightflyers' After One Season

    Syfy Cancels 'Nightflyers' After One Season

    The George R.R. Martin drama “Nightflyers” has been canceled by Syfy after only one season. Based on the novella from the mastermind behind “Game of Thrones,” the show was seen as a big gamble for the NBCUniversal-owned cable network, as it represented the most expensive series it had ever developed. The network attempted to spark [...]

  • Batwoman Arrow

    The CW's 'Batwoman' Pilot Switches Directors, Adds Dougray Scott

    The CW has added veteran Scottish actor Dougray Scott to its “Batwoman” pilot as well as swapped in Marcos Siega for previous director David Nutter, Variety has learned. The pilot, which stars Ruby Rose as the eponymous caped heroine, is being helmed by DC TV head Greg Berlanti, and was penned by “Vampire Diaries” alum [...]

  • OG Review

    Review: 'O.G.' on HBO

    Jeffrey Wright, the most compelling reason to watch HBO’s new film “O.G.,” is among television’s best actors at switching between codes or manners of being. On “Westworld,” his timeline-toggling android swaps personae so delicately that his performance gains in resonance when recalled in retrospect. (Perhaps that’s why Wright has been so oddly underrated through the [...]

  • Nahnatchka Khan Writers Room

    Nahnatchka Khan Exits 20th Century Fox TV for Overall Deal at Universal

    Nahnatchka Khan has signed a four-year overall deal at Universal Television. The deal brings an end to the decade-plus Khan and her Fierce Baby Productions banner spent at 20th Century Fox Television. The move will see Khan exit from her role as showrunner on ABC comedy “Fresh Off the Boat,” which she also created. The [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content