Weinstein Co. to Launch Two 'Project Runway' Spinoffs Amid TV Push


NEW YORK – The Weinstein Company is making a renewed TV play as several film companies are looking to ramp up productions for the small screen.

Harvey and Bob Weinstein, after a debt restructuring this past summer,  have committed to spending more than $10 million a year on the TV push, already have 15 shows in development and plan to have eight shows on the air by the end of 2011, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

They have hired Meryl Poster, former co-president of production at Miramax, to run the TV business.

And Ben Silverman, former co-chairman of NBC Entertainment and founder of multi-platform production firm Electus, housed at Barry Diller’s IAC, has partnered with the Weinsteins on four shows.

"We can't go back, but we can reboot, and that's what we're doing," Harvey Weinstein told the Journal, highlighting that the company is cash flow positive thanks to the restructuring. "I think these shows can create some stability for the company and have the potential to be cash cows."  He added: "The movie business is up and down, but TV is more stable. With so many channels, the demand for original programming is so much greater."

The firm’s slate includes reality and scripted series, including two spinoffs of the Weinstein’s reality hit show Project Runway, namely Project Runway: Masters, focused on professional designers, and Project Runway: Accessories, focused on clothing accessories, as well as Mob Wives, set to air on VH1, about four women who grew up in the mob or married into it, and Marco Polo, a historical series that follows Marco Pool's time as a special envoy to Kublai Khan. The Marco Polo series, according to the Journal, has received offers from several cable networks. That show and Mob Wives are projects they are doing with Silverman.

"Harvey and his company are willing to do the hard work to promote TV shows and really market them to create a platform around them, all of which I found very attractive in this crowded marketplace," Silverman told the Journal.

Other Weinstein Co. scripted shows in the works include book-based The Nanny Diaries and The Mad Ones, based on a crime novel about the Gallo brothers and the New York mob.

The Journal also mentioned that Starz CEO Chris Albrecht is considering several of the Weinstein Co.'s TV projects.

The company is not alone among film companies. Twilight studio Summit Entertainment and Legendary Pictures have also focused on establishing TV as a second business, the Journal highlighted. Legendary is in final negotiations for a deal with Warner Bros. Television, it said.
 

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