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TV Shingle Takes Unusual Tack With Neil LaBute DirecTV Series

Momentum TV topper Nick Hamm recruited playwright to create half-hour drama

Producer Nick Hamm convinced playwright Neil LaBute to create his first TV series by offering the lure of a low budget and a quick-and-dirty production cycle for an emerging premium channel. What’s not to like?

To Hamm, who heads L.A.-based Momentum Television, the birthing process for LaBute’s “Full Circle” is an example of everything that is great about the unruly state of the content biz.

“We are living through the digital equivalent of the industrial revolution,” he said.

The LaBute series earned an order for 10 half-hour episodes from DirecTV’s Audience Network. Momentum TV is part of Momentum Entertainment, owned by ad giant Interpublic Group.

Hamm, a seasoned film and legit director-producer, was recruited in late 2011 to launch a boutique production unit for programs that lend themselves to brand integration opportunities for clients of IPG-owned agencies. The company’s first series, “Rogue,” bowed on Audience Network this month.

“The independent film community has essentially all migrated to cable. Now you have a place where you can tell stories in a filmic way and find an audience who wants that material,” Hamm said.

LaBute was intrigued once Hamm assured him he’d have total creative control within a tight budget. “Full Circle” revolves around 11 characters with intersecting lives who meet, two at a time, for conversations in a restaurant. It will lense in June for a planned fall debut.

TV’s appetite for such unconventional material reinforces Hamm’s belief in the creative and commercial vibrancy of the expanding content marketplace.

“It’s a really healthy time to be in this business,” he said.

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