Glass' 'Life' on air at D'Works

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DreamWorks has inked a first-look deal with "This American Life," a popular personal storytelling radio show co-owned by host Ira Glass and Chicago Public Radio.

Glass and producing partners Julie Snyder and Alissa Shipp will develop and produce feature films based on the stories that air on the show, which has won the Peabody Award and many other honors since launching in 1995. Each one-hour broadcast is centered on a theme with a collection of funny, emotional real-life stories drawn from everyday occurrences. It is these stories that have drawn in listeners as well as Hollywood. "Life" airs on more than 500 stations through Public Radio International.

Glass and "Life" had a first-look deal with Warner Bros. Pictures, a deal that yielded the recent "Unaccompanied Minors." Glass found that juggling a radio show and trying to develop projects wasn't the most productive way to set up projects.

"We would have been able to make more films if we had had more time to devote to it," Glass said. "Apparently, most people in the film industry don't have their own weekly radio show and actually have time to make and return phone calls and hustle a little more."

Glass will have a more dedicated Hollywood team in the form of Snyder and Shipp. Snyder, the senior producer of "Life," is the executive producer of Showtime's television series based on the radio show that will air in March. She oversees the editorial content of the radio and TV shows and will serve as executive producer on the film projects. Shipp comes from Warners, where she was the executive liaison between the studio and the show. She will serve as a producer on film projects as well as on the radio and television show.

"Life's" deal with Warners expired in the summer. DreamWorks' interest was piqued when the show was shopping several stories around town.

"Ira Glass is a master of storytelling that is consistently fresh and exciting," DreamWorks production president Adam Goodman said. "We are always looking for new sources of material to bring to motion picture audiences, and 'This American Life' provides a potential treasure trove of film ideas."

Added Glass: "We're especially interested in working at DreamWorks at this moment when Stacey Snider is pushing the company in new and interesting directions. We're excited to work with her and the other execs we've met, who we like a lot. We also hear they've got this Spielberg guy who's supposed to be pretty good."
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