Jackman pacts with CBS Paramount

Seed Prods. inks first comprehensive TV deal

CBS Paramount is betting big on “Viva Laughlin!” exec producers Hugh Jackman and John Palermo.

Eye’s studio arm has inked a two-year, seven-figure overall deal with Jackman and Palermo’s Seed Prods. It’s the first comprehensive TV pact for the 18-month-old company, which remains based at 20th Century Fox for features.

Palermo said Seed is looking to produce a wide variety of projects, from scripted comedies and dramas to reality shows. It’s even come up with an unconventional plan to find an exec to run its reality department: asking candidates to submit their applications via YouTube.

CBS Par Network TV prexy David Stapf, whose studio co-produces “Viva” with Sony Pictures TV, said he expects “a productive future” with the two producers.

“Their creative instincts and breadth of relationships make them a terrific partner in developing shows,” he said.

Jackman, meanwhile, predicted that “Viva” would be “just the first of many interesting collaborations between Seed and the studio.”

“Viva” stemmed from a deal Seed struck last year with the CBS network under which the network developed three scripts and guaranteed production of a pilot.

New pact is more broad-ranging and will have Seed potentially producing for all nets. Palermo expects to hire up to four TV staffers to fill offices on the CBS Par lot at the Radford Studios.

While the company is already looking for an experienced development person to take on scripted projects, Palermo and Jackman decided to take an unconventional approach to the search process for an alternative exec.

“For this position, I won’t be reviewing anyone’s paper resume,” Palermo said. Instead, applicants will have to create a videotaped bid for the position and upload it to YouTube.

“If you want this job, you’re going to have to be creative in getting it,” he said. “What better way to find someone who can create smart unscripted programming than someone who knows how to make their own ‘reality’ video?”

Palermo said the YouTube search is “a good opportunity for those people who didn’t go to Brown or Yale or NYU Film School to show that they have talent.”

Seed is still working on the mechanism for accepting applications and is expected to announce details later this year.

As for the kinds of projects Seed is looking to produce, Palermo said passion for an idea is key.

“Hugh and I are both led by our curiosity,” he said. “We have tons of interests, and we’re not interested in making shows that are expected.”

Seed is busy with multiple film projects both in the U.S. and Australia. In addition to its U.S. film deal with 20th, Seed also has a TV/feature deal with News Corp. in Oz, maintaining offices in Sydney and L.A.

Company just wrapped “The Tourist,” which stars Jackman and Ewan McGregor. It’s also expecting to begin work on the “X-Men” spinoff “Wolverine,” which Seed is producing with 20th, and a new take on “Carousel.” Deal was brokered by Endeavor.

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