Reality hyphenate Danny Salles (“The Joe Schmo Show”) is setting up shop at Fox TV Studios, inking a multiyear overall deal to create unscripted and hybrid series under his Semi-Cool Prods. banner.
Pact is one of the first major talent deals under alternative development topper Holly Jacobs, who wants to develop more fare that blends elements of scripted series and traditional reality shows.
“We’re putting an emphasis on the hybrid show, particularly in comedy,” Jacobs said. “We think that’s the next chapter.”
Salles’ resume boasts a number of hybrid laffers. He helmed theFox hit “My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance” and the first season of Spike’s “Joe Schmo.” He’s exec producing Endemol’s upcoming “I Want to Be a Hilton” and created the MTV hybrid “Faking the Video.”
Salles will develop his own concepts and work on projects developed by others inside the Fox TV Studios framework. Deal also has a clause that allows Salles an out to direct a limited number of scripted skeins outside the studio.
“Hopefully, he’s going to play in everything,” Jacobs said. “We want to tap into him with all of the projects we have and let him use all the resources we have. He’s going to be an integral part of the Fox TV Studios wheelhouse.”
Jacobs said Salles is a rare breed among reality producers because of his wide experience across genres, and his ability to direct and write as well as produce skeins.
While it’s not part of the Fox deal, Salles co-created and directed “The Other Mall,” a hybrid single-camera comedy done on spec via Regency Television (which is half-owned by Fox TV Studios). Pilot was snapped up by Fox, which ultimately passed. Project is still a contender for a cable berth.
“Reality has really opened up the comedy landscape,” Salles said. “You don’t need an audience or perfect lighting anymore to make a good comedy. You just need it to be funny.”
Salles said the deal with FTVS was almost an accident, stemming from a meeting he had with Jacobs and her deputy Mindy Moore about an individual project.
Jacobs confirmed that, saying she and Moore had an epiphany during their meeting with Salles.
“We realized this is someone we wanted to have in our brain trust,” she said. “In a matter of 10 minutes, we rallied our troops, brought in Angela (Shapiro, prexy of FTVS), and the next day started talking to William Morris about a deal.”
Salles worked with Jacobs and Moore on “The Family,” a Shapiro/Grodner-produced ABC reality skein developed at Buena Vista Television when Jacobs and Moore were at the Disney-owned studio.