Section Eight musters deal with WBTV

Heslov named prexy of small screen arm

Section Eight — the production company headed by Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney — has sealed a two-year deal at Warner Bros. Television.

Under the first-look deal, Section Eight is already developing a TV movie about legendary newsman Edward R. Murrow.

The untitled telepic, which would be broadcast live, will be directed by Clooney and written by Jon Robin Baitz (“People I Know”).

Also, as part of the new Warner Bros. TV deal, Grant Heslov has been named president of Section Eight’s TV division.

Heslov had previously been vice president of film at the production shingle.

“Grant has an incredible talent for finding the type of properties Section Eight wants to develop and produce, and now he brings that insight to the television division,” Clooney said.

Clooney in WBTV family

Deal keeps Clooney in the Warner Bros. TV family, where he leaped to superstardom as a cast member on the studio’s “ER.” He later produced and starred in the live remake of the Cold War telepic “Fail Safe,” which Warner Bros. produced for CBS in 2000.

“(Partnering with Warner Bros. TV) will enable us to work with many of the writers and directors that we have had the pleasure of working with in the film division,” Heslov said. “George and Steven want to push the envelope and help get difficult projects on the air. … George has had a longstanding and successful relationship with Warner Bros. and I’m extremely pleased to be a part of it.”

Heslov first joined Section Eight as director of development in 2001, later moving up to vice president. He’s developed feature projects including “Jennifer Government,” “The Jacket” and “The Informant.” He also co-produced the Clooney/Catherine Zeta-Jones vehicle “Intolerable Cruelty.”

Warner Bros. TV prexy Peter Roth called the decision to pact with Clooney, Soderbergh and Heslov a “no-brainer.”

Strong track records

“Their track records in our industry certainly speak for themselves,” Roth said. “We are looking forward with tremendous excitement to our new business venture with Section Eight.”

Separate from the Warner Bros. TV deal, Section Eight recently landed the Washington, D.C.-set skein “K Street” on HBO. Project revolves around a fictional political consulting firm but will feature real-life D.C. players (such as Mary Matalin and James Carville, who’s an exec producer).

On the feature side, Section Eight sealed a three-year nonexclusive, first-look pact in September 2001. The company has delivered film hits such as “Ocean’s Eleven,” which Soderbergh helmed and Clooney toplined.

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