Eighteen months after he closed up the Firm and launched a new shingle, Jeff Kwatinetz is getting aggressive about TV.
Kwatinetz and his TV partners at Prospect Park — producer Paul Frank and his father, former Disney Studios topper Rich Frank — have assembled a slate of projects to capitalize on the success of drama “Royal Pains,” which they produce for USA Network.
“Our goal is to be smart about developing shows that we think can stand the test of time,” Kwatinetz said. “A lot of the networks are willing to take chances and try to do innovative things.”
First up, FX has just handed Prospect Park a pilot order for “Wilfred,” a surreal comedy based on the Australian laffer about a man, a woman and her talking dog.
Call it “Donnie Darko” meets “Harvey.”
“Family Guy” alum David Zuckerman is adapting the quirky series and will write and exec produce with Kwatinetz and the Franks.
Jason Gann, who co-created and starred in the Australian series (which launched on Oz’s SBS in 2007), will star in the pilot and serve as co-exec producer. Joe Connor and Ken Connor of Renegade, producers of the Australian version of “Wilfred,” are also exec producers.
Here in the States, the original “Wilfred” has run on IFC.com.
“We really loved David’s take on ‘Wilfred’ and believe it’s on target with our growing comedy brand,” said Nick Grad, exec veep of original programming at FX.
At Starz, Prospect Park is developing “Blackrock,” about the excesses of the 1980s music biz.
The idea of doing a show in that world appealed to Kwatinetz, who built the Firm first as a music rep before his acquisition of AMG expanded that company’s focus. At Prospect Park, Kwatinetz still reps Jane’s Addiction, Korn, Backstreet Boys, Ice Cube and R. Kelly, among others.
Steve Kronish (“The Kennedys,” “24”) is writing the project.
“The ’80s were the height of this great, important music business, which has since run into hard times,” Kwatinetz said. “Having gone through the business and knowing those stories, this was something we wanted to do. (Starz honcho) Chris Albrecht is also fascinated by the music industry, and we knew we could do stuff that was edgier and had real quality with Chris.”
Prospect Park has also partnered with Lionsgate on “Eden,” which is close to landing at TNT.
Peter Ocko (“Pushing Daisies”) is behind that drama, about a pharmaceutical company heir in Las Vegas who helps people overcome their issues.
On the network side, Prospect Park has the script “Lost Boys” set up at Fox. From scribe Jace Richdale (“The Goode Family”), comedy centers on four old guys who are forced to move in together.
Kwatinetz founded the Firm in 1997 and exited in November 2008. Rich Frank, meanwhile, was chairman of Walt Disney TV and Telecommunications, and spent nearly a decade as president of Walt Disney Studios. He also served as president of Paramount TV Group and prexy of Chris Craft TV.
“I’ve got a great group of people at our company — Paul, who runs out TV department, and Rich, who has had such an unbelievably successful track record in the business,” Kwatinetz said. “We want to work with smart, creative writers and producers.”