Abbey Robertson has joined Apostle Management, the management division of Denis Leary and Jim Serpico’s production company Apostle. Robertson, who was a manager at The Collective, joins George Heller in Apostle’s Los Angeles office. Prior to that, she was the co-founder with Melody Hammer of Adept Entertainment, a management and production company. Robertson’s focus will be on creating crossover opportunities for Apostle’s stable of actors, comedians and stand-ups, which includes Robert Kelly, Louis Katz, Nate Bargatze and Erin Foley. “Abbey has a great eye for talent and is well respected in the community,” Serpico said. Apostle’s TV division is posting new IFC series Maron, which will debut May 3, and recently finished half-hour USA pilot Sirens, co-written by Leary.
EXCLUSIVE: Apostle partners Denis Leary and Jim Serpico have come aboard as executive producers of Burn, a feature documentary about the city of Detroit seen through the eyes of its firefighters. The pair behind the FX firefighter drama Rescue Me have launched a campaign on the crowd-funding site Kickstarter to seek finishing financing for the docu, which centers on the struggle of the men and women charged with the task of saving a city many have written off. Burn will be co-directed by Tom Putnam and Brenna Sanchez and is targeting the 2012 festival season. “This film will help raise the public’s awareness to the work firefighters around the country do, as well as the sacrifices they make, particularly in these times of severe budget cuts,” Leary said. The filmmakers are offering products and experiences to entice Kickstarter donors, including a Boardwalk Empire set visit and an autographed helmet signed by the Rescue Me cast. So far, Burn has been funded via grants and donations from the likes of GM and Apple. A portion of the film’s proceeds will go to The Leary Firefighters Foundation to purchase equipment for the Detroit Fire Department.
EXCLUSIVE: Leslie Glass’ popular April Woo series of suspense novels is headed to TV. CBS has bought a drama procedural based on the nine mystery books that hails from Denis Leary and Jim Serpico’s Apostle production banner and CBS TV Studios. Novelist and TV writer Amy Bloom, creator of the Lifetime series State of Mind, will write the script and executive produce the project with Leary and Serpico. Glass’ April Woo mystery series center on the title character, a brilliant young Chinese-American who becomes the first female head of detectives in Coney Island, New York. Raised in the traditions of modesty, good manners and quiet self-effacement, she is hardly a perfect fit to tackle Coney Island’s connected families, drug deals on the Boardwalk, feminist strippers, and corrupt politicians. The project stems from Apostle’s first-look deal with CBS TV Studios for network TV.
Developing a drama series with a female Asian lead is a major step in diversity for the broadcast networks. It follows CBS’ recent casting of black actors as the leads of three high-profile procedurals: LL Cool J on NCIS: LA, Laurence Fishburne on CSI and Forest Whitaker on Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior. It also comes on the heels of CBS’ sister network launching the first major drama series with an Asian actress as the title character, thriller Nikita starring Maggie Q.
EXCUSIVE: Denis Leary and Jim Serpico’s Apostle is branching out into management. The duo’s New York-based film and TV production company is launching Apostle Management, whose main focus will be shaping up the careers of stand-up comedians who aspire to perform, write and direct their own material. “In this digital era, we will lend both our creative and production experience to help our clients achieve their potential,” Serpico said, adding that he and Leary are looking to tap into the “many resources and talented people” of New York City. To do that, Apostle has brought in veteran New York-based comedy representative Conan Smith. “I just like the idea of having a guy named Conan in my office,” Leary quipped. “We actually had hired Conan O’Brien but then TBS made him a slightly better offer so – mark my words – one day when you hear the name Conan you will think of Conan Smith.”
Smith spent 15 years with William Morris and was involved in the creation of the agency’s comedy department in New York, which he ultimately ended up heading. The department’s clients have included Ray Romano, Jon Stewart, Kevin James, Robert Klein, Colin Quinn and Tom Papa. Smith also spent two years at Endeavor before segueing into producing in 2007. Leary and Serpico launched Apostle in 1994. The company, which just inked a two-year overall deal with Fox TV Studios …
EXCLUSIVE: Denis Leary and Jim Serpico’s Apostle has inked a two-year overall deal with Fox TV Studios to develop and produce new cable series. Additionally, the company is in negotiations with CBS TV Studios for a deal that would cover broadcast projects as well as shows targeting the studio’s cable sibling Showtime.
Splitting the broadcast and cable areas of their TV business and setting them up at different studios marks a new stage in the evolution of Apostle. Launched in 1994, the company’s TV division set up shop at Sony in 2003 when the studio came on board to co-produce Apostle’s series for FX Rescue Me starring Leary. (The penultimate season of the firefighter drama premieres next week.) Apostle had been based at Sony TV until the studio recently decided to largely get out of the pod business, opting not to renew its overall deals with several companies, including Apostle, Tantamount and Timberman/Beverly. Tantamount and Timberman/Beverly have since inked deals with CBS Studios.
Before signing with Sony, New York-based Apostle developed a couple of projects with cable-focused FtvS. (FtvS’ executive vp scripted programming David Madden’s relationship with Leary goes even further back – he produced the 1995 movie Operation Dumbo Drop, which stared Leary.) “I think beyond the fact that they are really good creative auspices, they are also very hands-on, cost-conscious produces who have been able to produce Rescue Me in a remarkably …