EXCLUSIVE: Peter Berg & Sarah Aubrey’s production company Film 44 has inked a new overall deal with Universal Television. Under the two-year pact, the two will develop and produce new projects for the studio, which has been transformed by the new NBC regime from an NBC production arm into a supplier to all broadcast and cable networks. Universal TV EVP Bela Bajaria noted that keeping Film 44 in the studio family was an easy decision. “Pete Berg and Sarah Aubrey have exquisite taste and are amazing producers,” she said. “They are well-respected within the community and we look forward to a very productive relationship under the new Universal TV banner.”
Under its previous overall deal with the studio, Film 44 produced NBC/Universal TV’s Prime Suspect. Berg directed the pilot, which was picked up to series, with him and Aubrey executive producing the drama starring Maria Bello. Berg and Aubrey’s previous two series were also for NBC, the acclaimed Friday Night Lights, based on Berg’s 2004 movie, and medical drama Trauma. (FNL, which won 2 major Emmy awards for its final season, finished its run on DirecTV.) On TV, WME-repped Film 44 recently produced the HBO unscripted series On Freddie Roach, a cinéma-vérité look at the famous boxing trainer. In features, it’s behind the upcoming tentpole Universal movie Battleship, directed by Berg.
NBC has found its Prime Suspect. Maria Bello is in final negotiations to play the iconic role originated by Helen Mirren in NBC’s remake of the hit British series.
Prime Suspect, from UMS and ITV Studio, centers on an iconoclastic female detective (Bello) who has to make her bones in a tough New York precinct that is dominated by men. The pilot was originally picked up last season but was pushed after difficulties casting the lead. (Back then, Bello was a top choice for NBC brass too.) The adaptation was given a revamp this development season with a new producing team, Peter Berg and Sarah Aubrey of Film 44, and new writer, Alexandra Cunningham. The three are executive producing the pilot, with Berg also set to direct. History of Violence co-star Bello, repped by CAA, manager John Carrabino and attorney Bob Myman, has a history at NBC. She spent a season on ER and did a two-episode arc on Law & Order: SVU last year.
EXCLUSIVE: Peter Berg and Sarah Aubrey’s Film 44 is becoming a key player in NBC’s development plans for next season with 3 high-profile projects. Last week, the company took over NBC’ drama pilot Prime Suspect. Now I hear Berg and Aubrey are also coming on board NBC’ other big reboot, The Rockford Files, which is expected to film a new pilot. Additionally, Film 44 is developing a drama about political campaigners written by Dirty Sexy Money creator Craig Wright.
On Rockford Files, Film 44 will co-produce with Steve Carell’s Carousel, which was behind last season’s pilot written by House creator David Shore. Shore continues as writer/executive producer on Rockford, while Prime Suspect will now be written by Alexandra Cunningham, taking over from Hank Steinberg, who penned the adaptation of the iconic British drama this past season. I hear the writer change was made by the network, which is looking to strengthen the lead character, played in the original by Helen Mirren and make it more “out there” to be able to attract top talent. This past development season, the pilot was pushed after the lead couldn’t be cast.
All 3 Film 44 projects are set at Universal Media Studios where the company just reupped its overall deal. Berg may also direct one of the pilots if his schedule allows. He is busy on the feature side prepping Battleship. NBC is looking to film Prime Suspect in the fall for a possible midseason consideration.
WME-repped Film 44, along with Imagine TV and UMS, is behind the … Read More »