Saban Entertainment co-founder Shuki Levy is teaming with Tori Avey and Mike Pellegrino to form Wonderfish Media as a Los Angeles-based multiplatform production company, Variety has learned exclusively.
Wonderfish, based in the mid-Wilshire area, has begun development on a pair of projects: the TV series “Tribe of the Wild,” in which five teens on an island in Puget Sound deal with extraterrestrials invading the Earth, and the animated film “Fuzzbunz,” starring aliens with hearts of gold.
Levy created “Tribe of the Wild” in 2013 as part of a first-look production deal with Relativity TV. Wonderfish gained control of the property prior to Relativity Media’s high-profile Chapter 11 filing on July 30.
“We swim ahead of the current,” Avey said of the name of the company.
Avey, creator of the cooking-lifestyle blog ToriAvey.com, has worked for Doug Wick, Lucy Fisher and Jerry Zucker and was head writer for LevyMann Entertainment and director of development for LightVision Entertainment.
Pellegrino is VP of the Media Artists Group talent agency and served as the manager of the Four Tops for over a decade. Hal “Corky” Kessler of the firm Deutsch, Levy & Engel will exec produce the projects.
Levy co-founded Saban Entertainment with Haim Saban in the ’80s, and served as producer and scribe on the Stateside version of the company’s “Power Rangers.” The producer is also a prolific composer, having written the music for dozens of children’s shows since the 1980s including “Digimon: Digital Monsters,” “X-Men,” “Inspector Gadget” and “Power Rangers in Space.”
He was part of the Shuki and Aviva group in the early 1980s but decided that he preferred being offstage. “I was going crazy from being on stage,” Levy said. “I was much more comfortable behind the scenes.”
Levy split amicably with Saban prior to the latter’s sale of the company to Disney in 2001 and wishes him well. “I think the ‘Power Rangers’ movie is a fantastic idea,” he adds.
Levy has raised funds to open the Masada Museum in Israel, noting that he deeply affected by seeing the site – where more than 900 Jews committed mass suicide rather than surrender to the Romans – when he first saw it at age 10.
He also composed the music for the 2008 musical “Imagine This,” in which a family of actors in the Warsaw Ghetto try to stage a play about the siege at Masada to inspire hope within the Jewish community. The play received mixed notices after opening in London amid the financial crisis and closed after a month.
Levy and Avey are also on the executive committee developing an Einstein Museum in Israel.