It took a journey of five years across three networks and multiple showrunners before Tomorrow Studios leaders Marty Adelstein and Becky Clements were able to shepherd the TV adaptation of “Snowpiercer” to its May 17 debut on TNT.
But the long road traveled during production isn’t the most unusual thing about “Snowpiercer.” Adelstein, CEO of Tomorrow Studios, and Clements, who is president, discuss the dealmaking behind the series that is also airing internationally on Netflix on the latest episode of Variety podcast “Strictly Business.”
Tomorrow Studios was able to roll with the punches on “Snowpiercer” because of the company’s production partnership with the U.K.’s ITV Studios, which began in 2014. ITV’s support allows Tomorrow to put up some deficit financing on some shows, which allows them to retain certain rights and generally exert more control over the process.
Clements, a seasoned producer who was with Brillstein-Grey Television before teaming with Adelstein in 2010, credits her partner with striking a savvy deal with the right media company that affords them great flexibility. Tomorrow Studios retained the international rights to “Snowpiercer,” which is how Netflix came on board.
“The fundamentals of the deal recognize the chaos in the marketplace,” Clements said. “What (Adelstein) said to ITV was, ‘You have to give us the agility in the dealmaking.’ The revenue streams are completely collapsing and changing. That was a key component of (Tomorrow Studios) structure. It was just at the right time.”
Adelstein and Clements also discuss launching an animation company in Japan and producing shows such as their live-action take on “Cowboy Bebop” for Netflix with the global market in mind for Netflix. And Adelstein draws on his experience as an agent at CAA and partner at Endeavor to share some thoughts about this precarious moment for Hollywood talent agencies.
“The balance of power has shifted,” Adelstein said. “Agents are not in the position they were in in the past. I think it’s much more difficult for an agent to call up a studio and say ‘I’m not going to make the deal with you unless you give me a package.’ “
“Strictly Business” is Variety‘s weekly podcast featuring conversations with industry leaders about the business of media and entertainment. A new episode debuts each Wednesday and can be downloaded on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher and SoundCloud.
(Pictured at top: “Snowpiercer”)