Fox on Wednesday revealed the launch of a multiplatform content studio, SideCar, which will develop scripted and unscripted programming to complement the network’s offerings. It will be run by veteran producer Gail Berman, CEO of production studio The Jackal Group (Netflix’s Tidying Up with Marie Kondo).
Described as a “content development accelerator,” the new company will work side by side with Fox, identifying and incubating programming for both the network and third-party platforms. Fox will retain ownership of all series that originate under the SideCar banner, the network says.
“The beauty of a ‘SideCar’ is that the riders are literally headed in the same direction, and having Gail Berman riding shotgun is about as good as it gets,” Charlie Collier, CEO of Fox Entertainment, said in a statement released at the Television Critics Association Winter 2019 Press Tour in Pasadena, Calif.
The move comes not long after he was named to the leadership role in October 2018, and charged with overseeing all content development, growth strategies and business operations. It’s also one of the company’s first business decisions in light of Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox. The deal will merge Fox Broadcasting, Fox News and Fox Sports into a new company, Fox Corporation.
“Michael Thorn [president of entertainment at Fox Broadcasting Company], Rob Wade [president of alternative entertainment and specials at Fox Broadcasting Company] and their teams have Fox firing on all cylinders,” Collier continued in the statement. “So, extending their reach and allowing creators another door through which to access our brands, business and executives is the right strategic move at the time we need it.”
Berman served as president of Fox Entertainment from 2000 to 2005, and president of Paramount Pictures from 2005 to 2007 before launching The Jackal Group, which will continue as a separate entity.
“I’m a great admirer of Gail’s work as both a producer and executive,” added Collier. “The respect she commands, her impeccable taste and the meaningful relationships she’s amassed will help fuel Fox Entertainment with quality programming and allow Michael and Rob an even greater palate from which to paint. Everybody wins.”
Speaking of content, Fox has also partnered with comic book publisher Boom! Studios to develop an adaptation of the graphic novel Talent.
The one-hour drama follows Nicole Dane, who wakes up in a hospital as the sole “miraculous” survivor an accident that killed 148 people, and discovers she inherited the talents of those who died. Armed with these new abilities, she must use her second chance to bring closure to their unfinished stories and solve the mystery of the accident, all while trying to escape a past that continues to haunt her.
Graham Yost (Justified, The Americans) will serve as showrunner, writer and executive producer, along with executive producers Neil Moritz of Original Films and Pavun Shetty, Toby Jaffe, Stephen Christy and Ross Richie. Christopher Golden and Tom Sniegoski, who attempted to turn the graphic novel into a movie, will serve as co-executive producers.
“When I first read Talent, I was immediately hooked, as it took me on an incredible journey I’ll never forget,” said Thorn in a statement. “This project accomplishes two professional goals of mine: work again with Graham Yost, one of the finest creators in the business; and transition Talent from feature development into the world to television. In Graham, Neal Moritz, Sony and Boom, we have the perfect partners who have the vision to bring this fantastic story and its characters to life as we take these important steps in building future Fox.”
As he took the stage at TCA, Collier said Fox is thinking a lot about how to compete in today’s television landscape.
“The way we’re coming to market is more nimble and able to match business with opportunity than some of the vertically integrated networks out there,” reports The Hollywood Reporter.
There’s no forgetting the network’s deep roots with series such as The Simpsons, which it renewed for its 31st and 32nd seasons. The longest-running primetime scripted show in television history, the order will bring the show’s episode count to 713.
Fox Sports is also getting ready for the 143rd annual Westminster Kennel Club dog show, and has teamed up with Nat Geo Wild for full coverage, including live streaming on the Fox Sports app, of the world’s top canines from February 10 - 12.
As much as he outlined what’s to come, Collier did, however, leave many lingering questions around topics such as Clayne Crawford’s firing from Lethal Weapon as he was replaced by Sean William Scott, the fate of live musicals at Fox after low ratings for Rent, and, well, clarity around the future of the network in general.
“Fox Entertainment is an open canvas,” he said. “It’s a startup company, albeit one with a roughly $26 billion valuation.”