“Without a Trace” star Anthony LaPaglia has set up projects at CBS and Fox via his Warner Bros. TV-based Last Straw Prods.
Thesp launched his shingle last year without any formal announcement, partnering with producer and former NBC longform exec J.J. Jamieson. Company has a first-look deal with WBTV.
LaPaglia said he and Jamieson waited a year before going out to pitch projects. In their first at-bat, they’ve already set up a comedy at Fox and a drama at CBS.
Fox project “Damnation” is a half-hour about a recently deceased young man who believes he’s wrongly been sent to hell. He makes a deal with the devil and ends up working to recruit souls to the underworld.
Canadian playwright Morris Panych is writing the script. Timothy Busfield (“Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip”), who brought the project to Last Straw, will exec produce and is attached to direct.
“Hell’s not fire and brimstone in this show,” LaPaglia said. “It’s basically a corporate office filled with cubicles and office politics.”
Over at the Eye, net has bought “The Word,” an action drama about a renegade team of whistle-blowers who expose coverups and conspiracies. Thesp-scribe Lawrence Monoson and Alexander Cary will write the pilot and serve as supervising producers.
“It’s a ‘Bourne Identity’ kind of thriller,” LaPaglia told Daily Variety. “The format means it can remain topical. We want to reflect whatever’s going on in the news.”
Jamieson, who serves as exec VP of Last Straw, will exec produce all of the company’s projects with LaPaglia.
Working with LaPaglia and Jamieson at Last Straw are VP of production Natalie Stevenson, manager of development Doug Reid and business manager Richard Zimmerman.
LaPaglia said he’s not looking to develop a slew of projects every season.
“I’m more interested in focusing on the three things we like and making sure they’re the best they can be before we go out and sell them,” he said. “I’d rather stay small. That way you can maintain quality control.”
He’s also taking a hands-off approach to the day-to-day running of the company, giving Jamieson a wide berth to make decisions.
“I laid out what kind of company I’d like it to be, and they’re working within that parameter,” he said. “Like running any business, you hire the best people you can find and then get out of the way.”
Jamieson’s telepic credits include “Spring Break Shark Attack,” “The Triangle” and “Long Lost Son.” He co-created the MTV skein “Fraternity Life.”
Last Straw is repped by ICM.