Berlanti and his production company partner, Mickey Liddell, officially move over to Touchstone on Wednesday. The duo most recently spent three years at Warner Bros. TV, where they also were behind the critically acclaimed but short-lived WB drama “Jack & Bobby.”
Berlanti and Liddell will continue as exec producers on “Everwood” for Warner Bros. TV but otherwise start coming up with new TV projects for Touchstone. Under their Berlanti/Liddell Prods. banner, they’re in the process of hiring a new VP to oversee day-to-day development.
“It was time for a change, and (Touchstone TV topper) Mark (Pedowitz) and his team were really aggressive,” Berlanti said. “I love Warner Bros. TV, but after three years you move around. I looked and asked where were all the shows that I like to watch, and Touchstone had a lot of smart, character-driven shows. They’ve shown that they can really take risks.”
Berlanti, who wrote and helmed the 2000 feature “The Broken Hearts Club,” has more recently been busy once again in the feature world, this time directing New Line’s “Bridge and Tunnel,” produced by Tribeca’s Jane Rosenthal and Robert De Niro (Daily Variety, Jan. 13). Berlanti also rewrote the script with Michael Green; Liddell is on board to exec produce.
Once “Bridge and Tunnel” wraps, Berlanti plans to jump into development for Touchstone. He’s itching to experiment with half-hours — a form he hasn’t yet worked in. But he’s also pleased with the direction hourlongs are going, given the success of relationship-centric series like “Grey’s Anatomy.”
“These character-driven shows are not afraid to be funny or serious,” he said. “There’s a lot more humor in hours now, all of which is great, and sort of in our wheelhouse. We’re also continuing to strive to find smart writers who haven’t had their shot.”
Berlanti is also awaiting word on whether “Everwood” will have a spot on the new CW network this fall. Having stumbled in a tough Thursday slot, “Everwood” returns to its old Monday 9 p.m. on March 27.
“We’ve been moved three times in one year,” he said. “Given the quality we feel the show has, we’ll hopefully have a place on the new network.”
Prior to “Everwood,” Berlanti worked up the ranks on the Frog’s “Dawson’s Creek.” Before Warner Bros., he was set up at Sony Pictures TV, which produced “Dawson’s”.