‘Idol’ hand lands deal at Warners

Jackson's living out his Dream

“American Idol” judge Randy Jackson is making his first foray into TV production, setting up his Dream Merchant 21 Entertainment banner at Warner Horizon Television.

Warner Bros. Television’s low-cost unit has signed Jackson to an exclusive, multiyear overall production deal under which Jackson will develop and produce a range of projects, from reality shows to one-hour dramas.

Jackson and his manager, Harriet Sternberg (NBC’s “The Return of Spinal Tap”), will run the shingle, based on Warner Bros. TV’s Burbank lot. Jackson says he’ll be hiring key development execs shortly.

“We talked to a bunch of different people at different places about setting up shop, but it was an instant fit with (WBTV prexy) Peter Roth,” said the record producer, manager and onetime bassist for the band Journey. “We instantly spoke the same language and had the same vision.”

Dream Merchant 21 is rounding up its first slate of projects, which Jackson said includes a couple of music-themed series.

One thing Jackson won’t be attempting is any sort of “American Idol”-style music search.

WHTV is run on the programming side by alternative topper David Auerbach and scripted head Shelley Zimmerman. Studio inked reality guru Mike Fleiss and his Next Entertainment production company to an overall deal earlier this year (Daily Variety, May 9).

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