Carlton Cuse is returning to ABC Studios, setting a mammoth overall deal with the Disney division where he spent six seasons shepherding “Lost” with Damon Lindelof.
The four-year pact, valued in its entirety in the low eight-figures, puts Cuse in a league with the richest showrunner deals in town.
Cuse will launch a new production banner dubbed Genre Arts, and he has recruited longtime Amblin TV executive Lindsey Springer to serve as president. Cuse will focus on collaborating with other writers and creatives to bring projects to fruition. The company will be based on the Disney lot.
The prolific showrunner has spent the past half-decade prospering as a free agent without a formal studio deal. He launched three successful cable dramas in A&E’s “Bates Motel,” FX’s “The Strain” and USA’s “Colony,” and he has Amazon’s reboot of “Jack Ryan” set to bow next year. At Hulu, Cuse is at work on a pilot based on the graphic novel series “Locke & Key.” In his spare time, he penned the screenplay for 2015’s “San Andreas” and co-wrote the upcoming actioner “Rampage.”
Cuse has impressed by his ability to serve as showrunner on as many as four series at the same time for multiple studios and networks — a feat made possible by both his skill as a manager and his independent status. With the return to ABC Studios, Cuse will have the benefit of a central home base with ample resources. And ABC Studios has expanded its horizons during the past few years and is fielding numerous shows for non-Disney outlets, such as the Marvel branded series of dramas it produces for Netflix.
Given that Cuse had no shortage of options, his decision to set up shop with ABC Studios again is a boon to the studio, coming on the heels of the news earlier this week that its star producer Shonda Rhimes is departing after 15 years to join the Netflix fold.
“Forming a partnership with a writer/producer/director as talented and prolific as Carlton Cuse is a major victory for ABC Studios,” said Patrick Moran, president of ABC Studios. “We’re so looking forward to working with him again and bringing his signature creativity back to our studio.”
Disney/ABC TV Group chief Ben Sherwood made a big push to bring Cuse back into the Mouse House family. Cuse also had a good relationship with longtime ABC Studios business affairs chief Howard Davine and with Bruce Rosenblum, Disney/ABC TV’s president of business operations. Cuse and Rosenblum worked together on “Colony,” which hailed from Legendary Television, the division that Rosenblum ran until he moved to Disney/ABC TV last September.
“It is with great pleasure that I am returning to ABC Studios, my happy home for six years during ‘Lost.’ I am very excited to be working alongside wonderful and iconic Disney brands like Marvel, Pixar and Lucasfilm to create and bring entertaining and compelling stories to the screen,” Cuse said. “The very best part of my job is working with other writers to come up with cool ideas, solve story problems and get stories made.”
Cuse is highly regarded for his ability to help promising writers blossom as series creators and showrunners. He partnered with rising stars on “Bates Motel” (Kerry Ehrin), “Colony” (Ryan Condal) and “Jack Ryan” (Graham Roland). Top showrunners who came through the Cuse school at various points in their careers include “Lost” co-creator Lindelof, Shawn Ryan (“Timeless”), Eddy Kitsis and Adam Horowitz (“Once Upon a Time”), Glen Mazzara (“The Walking Dead”), John Wirth (“Hell on Wheels”), Pam Veasey (“CSI: New York”) and John McNamara (“The Magicians”).
Before he was recruited to serve as co-showrunner of “Lost” with Lindelof, Cuse was creator and showrunner of the CBS drama “Nash Bridges,” which ran from 1996-2001. His other credits include CBS’ “Martial Law,” ABC’s “The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.” and WB Network’s “Black Sash.”
Cuse is repped by WME, attorney Karl Austen of Jackoway Tyerman and manager Cliff Roberts of Syndicate Entertainment.