Radical Media, Fremantle Enterprises and Sundance Prods. have teamed to create a TV series from Pete Hamill’s novel “Forever” with Robert Redford and partner Laura Michalchyshn exec producing with Radical.
The book, published in 2003, follows Cormac O’Connor, who arrives in New York in 1740. He will live forever if he never leaves the island of Manhattan, which he watches evolve from a tiny community seething with tension between English and Irish, whites and blacks, into the metropolis of present day.
“Pete Hamill is a national treasure,” Redford said. “It’s an honor to be part of the team to bring to series with Radical Media this rich, captivating and wholly original tale which only Pete could have invented.”
Other upcoming Radical projects include “Island Sessions” with Chris Blackwell for PBS with Fremantle distributing internationally. It also has a development deal with Grant Achatz, chef and owner of Alinea in Chicago, for a TV series and live event.
Radical and architect David Rockwell have partnered to develop a slate of traveling “location-based experiences” showcasing cutting-edge environmental and digital technology. The first exhibit, a giant holographic whale, is scheduled for early 2014.
Hamill’s a prolific writer whose works, including the latest “Tabloid City,” are often hymns to Gotham. As such they’re of particular attraction to Tribeca-based Radical, which developed the Made in NY logo and was honored in June by Mayor Michael Bloomberg for contributions to the New York entertainment industry.
“Forever” will be produced entirely in Gotham. “We’re focused on New York stories and New York-based talent,” said prexy of entertainment Justin Wilkes, who likes to think of Radical Media as Gotham’s new Miramax for the digital age.
“When I was coming out of NYU, Miramax was the cool place. All our friends worked there. They created a market where there was one company attracting everyone,” Wilkes said. Radical is a few blocks away from the old Miramax digs on Hudson Street.
Jon Kamen and Frank Scherma launched Radical in 1993 doing TV commercials; it then expanded into film, television and digital content, graphic and interactive design, smartphones and tablet apps and live events. Fremantle acquired a 60% stake in 2010.
The company has 150 staffers in New York, Berlin, London, Sydney and Shanghai. It just got five Emmy noms for work on Paul Simon documentary “Under African Skies” and “Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory,” both directed by Joe Berlinger.
Radical’s hallmark is brand-driven entertainment. One of its best known efforts is “Nike Battlegrounds,” a three-season street basketball competition series sponsored by Nike that aired on MTV from 2004-07. “Iconoclasts” with Grey Goose is in its fifth season for Sundance Channel.
Radical produced the Arcade Fire part of American Express’ “Unstaged” concerts; landed YouTube channel Thnkrs last month; and created an iPad app and planned a concert at the Beacon Theater for Sting’s 60th birthday.
The shingle also produced the pilot for “Mad Men” more than five years ago. Then “we couldn’t get deficit financing” for more episodes and had to hand it over to Lionsgate, Wilkes said.