4:00pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Big Bang Theory' Star Simon Helberg Inks Pod Deal With Warner Bros. TV
Warner Bros. Television is extending its relationship with Big Bang Theory star Simon Helberg.
The actor, one of the core regulars on TV's No. 1 comedy among adults under 50, has signed an exclusive two-year pod deal with the studio behind the nerdy series, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Under the pact, Helberg — who has played Howard Wolowitz on the series since its inception — and his writer-director-actress wife, Jocelyn Towne, will develop new series via their newly launched production banner, Wildline Entertainment. As part of the pact, Helberg and Towne have tapped former movie producer Cora Olson (Good Dick) to head development for the company. The deal extends Olson's relationship with the couple, with the trio previously teaming on Towne's debut feature I Am I.
"We grew up in an era when people watched television on something called a 'television.' Today there is more opportunity than ever to be personal and daring in TV, and we're ecstatic to partner up with Warner Bros. to do just that,” Helberg said.
The news comes as Wildline already has a half-hour comedy in development that Helberg will write for the studio. On the drama side, the company last week closed a deal to adapt Legacy of Kings — the first book in the Blood of Gods and Royals young adult fantasy series from New York Times best-selling author Eleanor Herman. Helberg and Towne will produce via Wildline and WBTV alongside Lauren Oliver and Lexa Hillyer of Paper Lantern Lit, who packaged the book. Legacy of Kings shares the untold story of a teenaged Alexander the Great, before he was a conqueror, as he sets out on a quest to earn his father’s respect. Accompanied by a band of others driven by their own motivations, Alexander journeys to regain the Blood Magic — the only force capable of driving out an unspeakable evil that has taken root in the kingdom.
"It's thrilling to meet these characters just as they are discovering their true identities. We envision developing this as a historically rooted epic, but for a younger crowd,” Towne said.
In addition to Big Bang Theory, Helberg recently wrapped production on Stephen Frears' Florence Foster Jenkins opposite Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant. His credits include writing, starring and co-directing the feature We’ll Never Have Paris alongside Towne. The film premiered at the 2014 SXSW Film Festival and sold to Orion.
Helberg is represented by UTA, Brillstein Entertainment Partners and Myman Greenspan; Towne is with UTA; Paper Lantern Lit and Herman are with UTA on behalf of InkWell Management.
With the pact, Helberg becomes the latest Big Bang Theory star to score a deal with the studio. The actor closed a new deal to remain on the series through its previously announced 10th season following a brief holdout in August 2014. Helberg's deal is said to have narrowed the pay gap between stars Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, all of whom also received producing pacts as part of their mega-deals.