Akiva Goldsman Signs First-Look TV Deal With MGM

Akiva Goldsman - H Getty 2019
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Oscar winner Akiva Goldsman has signed a first-look TV deal at MGM, which has two projects lined up for him already.

As part of the multiyear agreement, Goldsman and his company, Weed Road Pictures, will develop scripted dramas for the studio. He also will come aboard a pair of series in development: Ringworld, an adaptation of Larry Niven's classic sci-fi novel that is set up at Amazon, and Aurora Rising, based on a YA novel by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. 

Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind, Star Trek: Picard) will write and executive produce Ringworld, which landed at Amazon back in 2017. MGM optioned the rights to Aurora Rising in June, a month after the sci-fi thriller's publication; Goldsman will produce.

"Akiva is a powerhouse talent with impeccable taste and creative instincts," Steve Stark, president TV production and development at MGM, said Monday in a statement. "MGM is thrilled to be in business with him, and our entire team looks forward to our collaboration on Ringworld and to the many distinctive and quality projects that lie ahead together."

Added Goldsman, "I couldn’t be more excited to work with MGM. Their creative and business acumen, thoughtful attention to storytelling and excellent executives make them optimal collaborators in today’s ever-changing television landscape."

Goldsman was an executive producer on the first season of Star Trek: Discovery at CBS All Access, serving as franchise captain Alex Kurtzman's right-hand man, but did not return for season two. Sources told The Hollywood Reporter that his management style and personality clashed with the writing staff. (Season one showrunners Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts were let go partway through season two after multiple writers threatened to file HR complaints about their behavior or quit the show altogether.) Goldsman remains part of the Trek team, however, and is an exec producer on the upcoming Picard series, working with Kurtzman and showrunner Michael Chabon.

Weed Road president of production Greg Lessans and creative executives Rachel Reznick and Alexandra Neal are overseeing the deal for the company. Goldsman and Weed Road are developing the fantasy series Gormenghast at Showtime (along with Neil Gaiman), an Amazon musical dramedy with fellow EPs Sandra Bullock and John Legend and 100 Days Without Fear at Fox. Goldsman is also an EP of Titans at DC Universe.

Goldsman is repped by Barry Littman and Steve Warren at Hansen Jacobson. As a producer and director, he is repped by CAA.

MGM's TV slate includes The Handmaid's Tale, Fargo, Vikings, Hulu's Four Weddings and a Funeral, Epix's Get Shorty and Perpetual Grace Ltd. and Condor at AT&T's Audience Network. The studio is also developing a sequel to the 1980s drama Thirtysomething and recently signed first-look deals with Renee Zellweger and Escape Artists, the company behind Perpetual Grace Ltd.