“American Idol” producer FremantleMedia North America has sealed an overall deal with reality producer Ted Haimes to develop nonfiction skeins.
Haimes, who runs the shingle Chaos Theory, most recently served as an exec producer on several Rocket Science Laboratories reality skeins, including the Fox entries “Temptation Island” and “Married by America.”
The producer will now be exclusive to FremantleMedia, where he’ll exec produce and act as showrunner on a variety of nonscripted programs.
Deal is rare for the company, which has mostly gotten out of the overall deal business now that it’s moved away from producing made-for-TV longforms. FremantleMedia North America entertainment prexy David Lyle said he wanted to bring a reality producer into the fold, rather than another development exec, to come up with new hits.
“Even though he’s a really experienced producer, we see his experiences as being useful in the whole development world for us,” Lyle said. “His strengths play into where reality’s going.”
With Rocket Science, Haimes also exec produced a series of one-hour movies for Fox, including “Getting Away From Murder: The JonBenet Ramsey Story” and “After Diff’rent Strokes: When the Laughter Stopped.”
Haimes originally came out of the documentary world, where he wrote, directed and produced projects such as MTV’s Emmy- and Peabody-winning “Decade”; the Emmy-nommed Telepictures series “The History of Rock ‘n Roll”; and the award-winning entry “Vietnam Requiem.” He also worked on feature docs “Punk!” and “Dial H for Hitchcock: The Genius Behind the Showman.”
“Ted comes to us with an unusual range of talents,” Lyle said. “Not only does he take real people’s lives and turn them into terrific television, but he is also a skilled, hands-on showrunner … What we offer for someone like Ted is our international network. Our programming is in 39 countries. Projects he may develop from scratch we may have an opportunity to exploit in other countries.”
Thanks to “American Idol,” Haimes — whose deal was brokered by ICM and David Fox — said FremantleMedia had built a “world-class reality unit.”
“My mandate is to build on that tradition, to help grow the company by creating and developing the next generation of primetime reality shows,” he said.
FremantleMedia produces “Idol” alongside 19 Television; the company also handles CBS’ “The Price Is Right,” syndicated strip “Family Feud” and CBS’ “Cupid,” among other entries.