Paramount Returns to TV Production With 'Beverly Hills Cop' Pilot
In a joint venture with Sony, Paramount is using the 1980s movie franchise to re-enter production for the first time since the split with CBS in 2005.
Viacom’s Paramount Pictures is back in television production for the first time in about eight years with a pact to co-finance and co-produce the pilot for a series based on the 1980s Beverly Hills Cop movie franchise with Sony Pictures Television for CBS.
The news comes shortly after Viacom’s Philippe Dauman said Monday that Paramount was looking to return to television production for the first time since the studio was split from CBS into two separate companies in 2005.
"Over time, I think Paramount can get back into the TV production business and maybe work with some of our other networks," Dauman said at a Deutsche Bank investment conference.
With basic and pay cable networks increasing their original productions, Dauman suggested this could be the start of moving Paramount back into content production for the small screen. He described the initial move as Paramount “putting its toes in the waters of TV production.”
“This is the first television project to come from Paramount since the separation with CBS and will be a great opportunity for us to collaborate with our former colleagues,” Paramount CEO Brad Grey said in an internal memo. “This pilot is also an example of being nimble and looking at our library with an eye toward capitalizing on an opportunity to make great content and create value by reviving a wonderful Paramount franchise.”
The Beverly Hills Cop project was revealed in September when CBS made a commitment to finance the pilot. Eddie Murphy, who starred in the movies, is joined with Shawn Ryan, who executive produced The Shield, and his producing partner Marney Hochman of MiddKid Productions. Ryan wrote the script. The pilot is being directed by Barry Sonnenfeld.
The movie franchise centered on Axel Foley (Murphy), a wise-cracking Detroit cop who comes to Beverly Hills, but the series would focus on that character's son (Brandon T. Jackson), who becomes a police officer in the tony city. Sheila Vand, David Denman, Kevin Pollak and Christine Lahti also star.
“I’m very happy to say we expect Eddie Murphy to appear in a recurring guest star role as Axel Foley,” Gray added in his memo.
Murphy and Ryan were paired up by the WME agency, and the project landed at Sony because that is where Ryan has a production deal.
“Whether it’s this pilot for CBS, our Burning Love series on Yahoo or Star Trek Into Darkness on the big screen, Paramount will continue to be flexible, innovative and smartly opportunistic,” Grey wrote in his memo. “The wealth of talent we have at Paramount and the great creative partners we are lucky to work with make projects like this one possible."