Ken Sanzel is having a busy first development season at Universal TV, which he signed an overall deal in April. Sanzel has sold two drama projects to NBC, which he is writing and executive producing.
Hood reimagines Robin Hood as an Iraq War veteran-turned-outlaw in an Upstate NY county besieged by rapacious bankers and a corrupt, privatized police department.
Gen Mishima is based on a Chilean format created by created by Enrique Videla and Vladimir Rivera for Parox S.A. and TV Chile. Sergio Aguero, a producer focusing on Latin and international material who brought in the format, will executive produce the NBC adaptation with Sanzel. It centers on a journalist and a FBI agent who investigate an underground culture of a group of brilliant kids who were part of an experimental school training the next generation of leaders which burned down years ago.
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After a long sting at CBS TV Studios, veteran drama showrunner Ken Sanzel has inked an overall deal with Universal Television. Under the two-year pact, Sanzel will develop, executive produce and supervise new projects for Universal. The former New York City cop, who was a member of the Decoy Squad in the NYC Transit Police Department, currently serves as executive producer/showrunner on the CBS/CBS Studios midseason drama NYC22, executive produced by Robert De Niro. Before that, Sanzel spent several years as executive producer/showrunner on the CBS/CBS Studios long-running drama Numbers. “Ken is a talented showrunner and possesses all the skills to create and sustain a hit show,” Universal TV’s EVP Bela Bajaria said. “Additionally, having had a prior life in the NYPD, Ken brings a unique, authentic, fresh perspective to everything he does.” Sanzel, repped by UTA and manager Jeff Field, previously created the series Jonny Zero and wrote and directed the cult CW pilot Nomads. This is the latest in a string of overall deals signed by Universal TV in the past couple of months as the studio is beefing up its talent roster.
EXCLUSIVE: Veteran showrunner Ken Sanzel has signed with UTA, where he will be represented by a team of agents in TV and film. He was most recently at WME. The former New York City cop, who was a member of the Decoy Squad in the NYC Transit Police Department, serves as executive producer/showrunner on CBS’ midseason drama The 2-2, executive produced by Robert De Niro. Before that, Sanzel spent several years as executive producer/showrunner on CBS’ long-running drama Numbers and did a brief stint at the helm of another CBS drama, Blue Bloods. Sanzel continues to be managed by Jeff Field of Field Entertainment and attorneys Bob Wallerstein and Ryan Nord.
New CBS drama series Blue Bloods has completed assembling its team following the recent departure of executive producer & showrnner Ken Sanzel. Two new producers have joined the show: helmer Fred Keller (Boomtown, 24, House) as producer & director and writer Linda Gase (Standoff, The District) as consulting producer. Keller’s deal came after he directed episode 3 of the cop/family drama starring Tom Selleck. His work on the episode, which coincided with Sanzel’s departure, got solid marks from the show’s executive producers: creators Mitchell Burgess and Robin Green and Leonard Goldberg. As for the show, “it is running really smoothly and is coming in even better,” an insider said. Keller is with Kaplan Stahler and Fineman Entertainment.
EXCLUSIVE: I learned this morning that Tom Selleck hasn’t been accepting the scripts which CBS’ Blue Bloods executive producer Ken Sanzel has been giving him. So a standoff developed over character vs procedural visions for the series, summarized to me as “creative tension”. By midday, Sanzel was still staying with the show. No more. Insiders just emailed me that the former New York cop told the staff late today that he is leaving. There’s no exit date yet. “He’s a stand-up guy; he won’t leave the network or studio hanging,” a network source explains. “Simply creative differences. It happens. He was brought in after the pilot as a showrunner to set the show up. We often do this for pilots picked up to series that have great writers but who haven’t run shows before.” Now, to replace Sanzel, Selleck wants to find ”his guy” who must also meet with studio/network approval. Unfortunately this turmoil is especially embarrassing because it’s executive produced by Leonard Goldberg, a CBS Corporation board member.
Sanzel, a longtime Numb3rs showrunner, was handpicked by CBS and CBS Studios to executive produce with creators Mitchell Burgess and Robin Green, who continue with the show. ”Ken is a real take-charge tough guy and everyone knows it. They begged him to take the show. He was reluctant to do it. And Selleck was not crazy to have Ken imposed on hm. But Ken was doing the network bidding thanklessly,” an insider tells me. Sanzel’s vision was for a compelling crime procedural, whereas Selleck wanted softer character exploration. Sanzel knew the network was behind him. But Selleck wanted to be in charge of the show. “Too many cooks,” one of my insiders explains. “They love him at CBS. But Selleck realized it’s not the show he thought he was in. Ken calls Nina Tassler and says, ‘What do you want to do?’ And she says, ‘Let me talk to Tom.’” Today, it became clear to me it was just a matter of hours before Sanzel left the show. ”Not bail on them in one day. Just saunter off peacefully,” a source tells me. “If we were to count up every single show where there’s creative friction between actors and producers, we’d have a number like the census bureau.” Read More »