Joel Silver Sets CBS, Fox Pilots Through First-Look Lionsgate TV Deal

Producer Joel Silver is turning his attention to TV in a big way, grabbing put pilot commitments for dramas at CBS and Fox and cutting a first-look pact with Lionsgate TV.

Silver has recruited Fox 2000 alum Rodney Ferrell as president of Silver Pictures Television. The two drama projects in the pipeline will be produced through the multi-year pact with Lionsgate.

At CBS, Silver Pictures Television is developing “Bathory,” with “Battlestar Galactica” alum David Eick (“Battlestar Galactica”) on board to executive produce with Silver and Ferrell. Set in 1600s Budapest, “Bathory” is described as a radical take on vampire mythology following the first known female serial killer, Elizabeth Bathory.

At Fox, “Soar” revolves around a former NBA prodigy turned felon who become the basketball coach at an upscale high school after his release from prison. Todd Slavin and Darren Swimmer, most recently of Syfy’s “Defiance” and “Dominion,” are writing and exec producing with Silver and Ferrell.

Silver’s past TV series include the cult-fave UPN/CW drama “Veronica Mars,” the CBS vampire drama “Moonlight” and the syndicated “Tales From the Crypt.” He was previously based at Warner Bros. TV along with his film operations.

“Lionsgate has established a reputation for creating some of the most ground-breaking and memorable television brands in the world, and I look forward to contributing a roster of big, audience-pleasing event properties to their incredible pipeline,” Silver said.

The deal with Silver caps a busy week for Lionsgate. On Tuesday the studio revealed that John Malone has deepened his investment in the studio indirectly through the acquisition of equity stakes by two companies affiliated with the billionaire investor, Discovery Communications and Liberty Global. On Thursday, Lionsgate unveiled a deal with prolific reality producer Craig Piligian to buy a majority interest in his Pilgrim Studios banner for an estimated $200 million.

Silver was the producer behind such blockbusters including “The Matrix” and “Lethal Weapon” franchises although he’s had a tougher go of it in recent years with film projects. He also hit a speed bump in his efforts to restore the Venice Post Office building as office space for his company.

But with demand for television content exploding, Lionsgate sees opportunity in teaming with the well-connected producer.

“Joel has created some of the biggest franchises of all time and established an incredible network of relationships with top writers and other world-class creative talent,” said Lionsgate TV chairman Kevin Beggs.

(Pictured: Rodney Ferrell and Joel Silver)

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