×

Jeffrey Katzenberg’s Mobile Content Platform Orders Series From Jason Blum, Guillermo del Toro

Jeffrey Katzenberg’s WndrCo-funded mobile-first content venture came into focus Wednesday with series orders from some of Hollywood’s top creators.

Jason Blum, Antoine Fuqua, Guillermo del Toro and Sam Raimi are all developing two-to-four hour length series for WndrCo’s platform, dubbed Quibi (short for “quick bites”). Katzeberg and CEO Meg Whitman gave a taste of the slate on stage in Los Angeles at day two of the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit.

Katzenberg described Blum’s project, titled “Wolves and Villagers,” as “Fatal Attraction 2.0,” while he says Fuqua is developing a modern telling of “Dog Day Afternoon” that is currently seeking two A-list actorst to take the reigns on a powerful and timely drama.

Raimi is developing a horror anthology “50 States of Fear,” with Van Toffler’s Gunpowder & Sky, that will highlight the scariest folklore from each state in America.

Details on del Toro’s projects were not immediately clear. Katzenberg and Whitman said they were about a year out from premieres, for both content and the Quibi app.

Quibi, previously operating under the placeholder name “NewTV,” has raised $1 billion from investors including major studios, VC and tech firms, and the Katzenberg-led WndrCo holding company. Last month, Katzenberg and Whitman announced that the mobile-TV service, slated to launch in late 2019 or early 2020, would be priced at $8 monthly without ads and $5 per month with commercials.

During a panel moderated by CNBC’s Julia Boorstin, Katzenberg and Whitman admitted they face stiff competition from mobile-native platforms like the streamers and Facebook Watch.

“The place between improbable and impossible? That’s my home address,” Katzenberg said, comparing the journey ahead for Quibi to that of HBO.

HBO, Katzenberg said, made bold bets and big spends — and recruited talent and tore up broadcast standards and practices in a way that had never been done before.

Quibi is seeking a 25-35 age demographic and aims to integrate into daily customer routines.

“I’ve seen every business plan in Silicon Valley for the past 20 years, and this is one of the best,” Whitman said of the Quibi playbook.

Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman are the 2018 Keynote speakers at Variety’s INNOVATE summit on Dec. 5. For the full agenda and to register, click here

More Biz

  • The Crown Season 3 Oliva Colman

    Record Intl. Growth Sees Netflix Beat Q4 Earnings Forecast

    Fast growth in international markets, contrasting with only sluggish subscriber gains in North America, was a major factor behind streaming giant Netflix’s better than forecast growth in the last quarter of 2019. The company is set on keeping up that international momentum. Globally Netflix added 8.76 million new customers in the three months to December [...]

  • Harvey WeinsteinHarvey Weinstein court hearing, New

    Weinstein Trial: Everything We Know About the Three Supporting Witnesses

    The prosecution laid out its rape case against Harvey Weinstein on Wednesday morning, spelling out the allegations in detail for the first time. In her opening argument, Assistant District Attorney Meghan Hast also described the testimony of three “prior bad acts” witnesses. Such testimony was critical in the prosecution of comedian Bill Cosby, and it [...]

  • Donna Rotunno, Harvey WeinsteinHarvey Weinstein court

    Harvey Weinstein's Defense Focuses on Emails in Bid to Discredit Accusers

    Harvey Weinstein’s defense attorney showed jurors friendly emails between their client and his accusers in an opening statement on Wednesday, arguing that the accusers are trying to “have it both ways.” Attorney Damon Cheronis asked the jury to rely on their “God-given New York City common sense,” and to find that the women had consensual [...]

  • Mark Cuban Andrew Wallenstein Variety CES

    Listen: Mark Cuban Is Bullish on AI, 5G, TikTok and ... Movie Theaters!?

    As a serial entrepreneur with a taste for tech, Mark Cuban has built a multibillion-dollar career by trusting his well-developed instincts. So when he says it’s time to pay attention to any particular innovation, it’s best to listen up. On the latest episode of the “Strictly Business” podcast, recorded at CES earlier this month in [...]

  • Harvey WeinsteinHarvey Weinstein court hearing, New

    Harvey Weinstein Was a 'Predator and a Rapist,' D.A. Tells Jurors

    A prosecutor told jurors on Wednesday that Harvey Weinstein wielded his immense power in Hollywood to rape vulnerable young women and then to keep them silent. Assistant District Attorney Meghan Hast gave jurors a vivid recounting of multiple sexual assaults, including the story of Jessica Mann, a witness who has not previously been identified. She [...]

  • Ryan Tracey

    CAA Hires TV Agent Ryan Tracey (EXCLUSIVE)

    Creative Artists Agency (CAA) has hired Ryan Tracey as an agent in the television department, Variety has learned exclusively. Tracey comes to CAA from UTA, where he had most recently served as head of TV Production. He has represented an numerous television producers during his career, including Aida Rodgers, Kathy Ciric, Anna Dokoza, Ellen Kuras, Mark Winemaker, [...]

  • Neil Portnow Grammys

    Ex-Grammy Chief Neil Portnow Responds to Rape Allegations

    The most explosive of many allegations in ousted Recording Academy Deborah Dugan’s complaint against the organization Tuesday was a claim that her predecessor, Neil Portnow, had been accused of raping a “foreign” singer who was a member of the Academy, and that Academy executives were aware of it at the time of Dugan’s hiring. On [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content