Veteran showrunner René Echevarria has signed a premium two-script deal with Legendary Television. No concepts have been set yet, but I hear Echevarria may explore titles from Legendary’s movie library. He has background in shepherding big properties to the small screen with his tenure on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Echevarria also served as executive producer/showrunner on Fox’s Terra Nova and executive produced MTV”s Teen Wolf. Additionally, he co-created USANetwork’s The 4400 and worked on Medium and Castle.
Legendary TV To Launch Global Distribution Unit Under Former Sony TV International Boss Michael Grindon
The latest piece in Legendary Entertainment‘s TV operations has fallen into place, with the company saying today it is forming a global television distribution division that will be headed by veteran Michael Grindon, who had been head of Sony Pictures Television International for 15 years. Grindon will report to Bruce Rosenblum, president of Legendary Television and Digital Media, who since being hired last spring has overseen the expansion of Legendary’s TV unit that now has the capacity to develop, finance and self-distribute its fare worldwide.
It’s the latest big movie for Legendary, which in December bolstered its TV roster with its first acquisition, nabbing indie producer Asylum Entertainment for north of $100 million by outbidding rivals in the midst of Legendary’s first development season, when it set up several projects. The plan is for Asylum to serve as a production label for non-scripted, long-form, sports and other genres. That deal jump-started Legendary’s unscripted and documentary production and gave it a toehold in longform programming, an area Asylum is building with Legendary’s help. It also has been adding execs including Tom Lesinski, President, Digital Content and Distribution; Gaumont International Television COO Richard Frankie as EVP Business Management; Wonderland’s Peter Johnson as EVP Scripted Series Development; and Greg Siegel from Break Media as SVP Development and Production.
Grindon will help build and operate a global distribution infrastructure at Legendary Worldwide Distribution and hire and oversee a team to handle the sales, marketing and servicing of all Legendary TV programming worldwide. The division will also look to handle international distribution for other indie production companies.
Another move by Legendary to expand its recently developed Television and Digital Media divisions. Legendary TV has named Noah Greenshner Vice President, Scripted Development. In his new role, Greenshner will be responsible for identifying branded material and IP as well as further developing internal projects. He’ll report to Peter Johnson, Legendary Television’s EVP of Scripted Development. Greenshner joins recent hire Greg Siegel in the Television and Digital Media divisions, which are overseen by Bruce Rosenblum. Greenshner joined Legendary from Closed on Mondays, a sister company to graphic novel publisher Oni Press, where he worked on The Sixth Gun and the graphic novel Ghost Projekt both for NBC.
EXCLUSIVE: Legendary Television has sold its second major broadcast project, this time on the comedy side. The company has teamed with James Lassiter, Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment for a half-hour comedy at Fox, which will star top South African comedian Trevor Noah. The project, inspired by Noah’s comedy and life, is being written by Sameer Gardezi, who will executive produce along with LEG’s Norm Aladjem and Randy Chalawsky, and Overbrook’s Lassiter and Caleeb Pinkett, brother of Pinkett Smith. Noah will produce. Noah’s comedy draws on his experience growing up in Soweto as the son of a Swiss father and South African mother and reflects his observations on race and ethnicity (check out a clip below). A popular comic on the African continent where he has sold more DVDs than any other stand-up, Noah has been crossing over to the U.S. Last year, he became the first South African comedian to appear on The Tonight Show and has since also appeared on The Late Show. His U.S. comedy special, African American, is currently airing on Showtime.
EXCLUSIVE: Bruce Rosenblum continues to build up his senior management team at Legendary Television. Rosenblum has brought in Gaumont International Television COO Richard Frankie as EVP Business Management. Additionally, former president of McG‘s Wonderland Sounds And Vision, Peter Johnson, has closed a deal to join the company as EVP Scripted Series Development. Former Warner Bros TV Group president Rosenblum, who was named President of Legendary Television and Digital Media in June, has been taking his time with the executive search, looking for the right fit. That includes bringing in a top-level creative executive, which is still in the works. Veteran TV business executive Frankie will be in charge of business affairs and help with the overall operation of Legendary TV, something he recently did for another start-up independent TV production studio, GIT. Frankie joined GIT at its launch in 2011, helping CEO Katie O’Connell build up the company, which has two series heading into second season, Hannibal and Hemlock Grove, and a pilot at USA. GIT is expected to name a replacement soon. Before joining GIT, Frankie was EVP Business Operations at Sony Pictures TV.