Peter Tolan starting production firm

'Rescue Me' writer-producer staying at Sony Pictures TV

Emmy-winning writer-producer Peter Tolan is launching a TV production company with agent-turned-producer Michael Wimer. It will be based at Sony Pictures TV with a three-year overall deal.

Tolan has had close ties with Sony TV for the past five years through FX's drama "Rescue Me," which Sony TV produces. Tolan co-created the series with Denis Leary and serves as executive producer/showrunner.

Still, the new company, which hasn't settled on a name, landed at Sony after interest from several studios.

"Without sounding like a press release, I'm really happy about that," Tolan said. "The thought of going anywhere else was pretty daunting."

Tolan started off on sitcoms "Murphy Brown" and "Home Improvement" before moving into darker territory with single-camera comedies "The Larry Sanders Show" -- for which he won a writing Emmy -- and "The Job" and darkly comic drama "Rescue Me."

Now he is looking to return to his roots.

"It's important to establish this company right out of the gate, so that would mean tempering my cable instincts and coming up with something that would bring more people into the tent," Tolan said. "I'm never going to take that darker, cynical side out of myself, but I'm going to make the shows a little bit more welcoming."

A sitcom also would offer a welcome change of pace for Tolan.

"After six to seven years shooting 'Rescue Me' in fire and smoke on the streets of New York, I'm looking to go back to a soundstage to do a multicamera comedy series so I can relax a little bit," he said.

Tolan already is working on several comedy and drama ideas targeted for broadcast. Also, he is developing a drama earmarked for FX as a potential replacement for "Rescue Me," which is slated for a sixth and final season next year.

Tolan also doesn't rule out another collaboration with Leary after their pairing on ABC's "The Job" and "Rescue Me."

"Peter is one of the most gifted writers I've ever known and he's a true force in our business," SPT president of programming and production Zack Van Amburg said. "Michael, meanwhile, has a unique ability to identify talent and turn projects into commercial successes."

Over the years, Tolan had had a production banner called Cloudland but hadn't thought of launching a full-fledged TV production company until meeting with Wimer several months ago.

Wimer was Tolan's film agent at CAA until the rep left the agency in 2005 to partner with another client, Roland Emmerich, at his Centropolis Entertainment, which was set up at Sony's Columbia Pictures.

The two kept in contact and started talking about a TV partnership following their meeting this year.

"I always wanted to be in the TV business, and it felt like a fantastic opportunity to do it with an exceptional talent like Peter," Wimer said.

On the film side, Wimer will continue to work with Emmerich on the "Foundation" trilogy and other projects they have in development.

Tolan and Wimer's deal was brokered by CAA and attorney Ira Schreck.
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