×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Shaftesbury signs first-look deal with ABC

Canuck shingle to work with Alphabet and both import, export product

Canadian shingle Shaftesbury Films has inked a first-look deal with ABC, offering the Alphabet a flexible, cost-effective approach to development and production.

Tom Mazza, who co-heads the shingle’s Stateside arm with Maggie Murphy, told Variety there is often a perception that in Stateside output deals with Canuck companies, content is heading on a one-way highway from north to south. In reality, programming could be imported from the U.S. to Canada, or developed simultaneously in both countries, a favored strategy for Shaftesbury.

“We have had a great amount of fun finding the northern-based talent in L.A., and the southern talent that’s passionate about a story that hasn’t been able to get out yet,” Mazza said. (Shingle had recently set sci-fi drama “Weird Desk” at ABC for summer, but the net shelved the series for the time being, placing Canuck crime drama “Motive” on the summer lineup instead.)

When it comes to tone, the co-heads mentioned that while dramas are fairly easy to import to American auds, laffers can prove challenging, since comedic sensibilities differ in the two countries.

Nevertheless, Shaftesbury has plans to bring Canadian comedies Stateside. Shingle just wrapped production on a half-hour presentation for Bravo Canada that features Fred Willard. Pair anticipates bringing the project to the American market next.

Both Mazza and Murphy joined Shaftesbury from Cookie Jar Entertainment. Before that, Mazza logged over a decade at Paramount TV and Murphy worked at Eastside Entertainment, a part of 20th Century Fox TV.

“We understand the U.S. objectives, sensibilities and issues,” Mazza said. “We do that while also offering the ability to take advantage of having a Canadian production partner.”

Duo noted their ability to pair, say, an American writer with a Canadian director, or easily lens a Stateside project in the wallet-friendly Great White North.

“We see it as an opportunity to put more money on the screen,” Mazza stated. “We want to do shows for less money, but not less quality.”

More TV

  • Lilly Burns Tony Hernandez

    Variety to Honor Jax Media Chiefs Tony Hernandez, Lilly Burns at New Leaders Event

    Emmy Award-winning producer Tony Hernandez and Emmy-nominated producer Lilly Burns will receive the Creative Leadership Award on behalf of Jax Media at the Variety New Leaders event presented by City National Bank, taking place Nov. 14 in New York City. As founders of Jax Media, Hernandez and Burns have produced shows and specials such as [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Virginia Leith, Female Lead in Stanley Kubrick's First Film, Dies at 94

    Actress and model Virginia Leith, who starred in Stanley Kubrick’s first film “Fear and Desire,” which he later disavowed, has died. She was 94. According to family spokesperson Jane Chalmers, Leith died after a brief illness at her home in Palm Springs, Calif. on Nov. 4. Born on Oct. 15, 1925, Leith met Kubrick in [...]

  • Friends

    'Friends' Reunion Special in Early Planning Stages at HBO Max

    More “Friends” could well be there for you when the HBO Max rain starts to fall. An unscripted “Friends” reunion special is in the works at the forthcoming WarnerMedia streamer, Variety has confirmed with sources. Sources say original cast members Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Courteney Cox, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer are in discussions [...]

  • TC3_SM_060718_238A4600.cr2

    'The Crown' New Season: Netflix to Offer Opening Episode for Free in the U.K.

    When Olivia Colman steps into the royal shoes of Queen Elizabeth II, viewers in the U.K. and Ireland will be able to watch for free as Netflix makes the eagerly awaited Season 3 curtain-raiser available gratis. The streaming giant will launch the series opener on a dedicated site for a limited period starting Sunday, making it [...]

  • T.R. Knight

    TV News Roundup: T.R. Knight Joins HBO Max's 'The Flight Attendant'

    In today’s TV news roundup, “Grey’s Anatomy” star T.R. Knight joins HBO Max’s “The Flight Attendant” and BET renewed “Games People Play.” CASTING T.R Knight has been cast in HBO Max‘s dark comedy “The Flight Attendant.“ Knight will play Cassie’s (Kaley Cuoco) older brother, Davey. When Cassie’s life starts to unravel, Davey deals with the [...]

  • Days of Our Lives Bill Hayes

    'Days of Our Lives' Cast Members Released From Contracts

    The entire cast of the NBC soap opera “Days of Our Lives” have been released from their contracts, Variety has confirmed. The daytime drama has run for over 13,000 episodes since first debuting in 1965. The show will go on hiatus at the end of November, though it has shot enough episodes to last through the [...]

  • Live+7 Ratings Week of Oct. 28:

    Live+7 Ratings for Week of Oct. 28: ‘This Is Us,' 'Grey's Anatomy' Double

    “This Is Us” and “Grey’s Anatomy” were among the biggest TV ratings growers for the week of Oct. 28. Both the NBC drama and the ABC medical show doubled their ratings after seven days of delayed viewing, with the former ending up on a 2.8 among adults 18-49 (the highest rating for a non-football show [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content