10:52am PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Grease: Live's' Marc Platt, Thomas Kail Ink Overall Deals With 20th Century Fox TV
While Fox has yet to announce its follow-up to its ratings and critical smash Grease: Live, the network's sibling studio has locked up two of the main players behind the scenes.
Grease: Live alums Marc Platt and Thomas Kail have signed individual first-look deals with the studio, Fox Television Group chairmen and CEOs Dana Walden and Gary Newman announced Monday at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour.
Under the pact, the studio will have the exclusive first-look option at any projects — live-action or scripted — that Platt will produce.
Hamilton's Kail, who has set up a production company at the studio, will develop, supervise and potentially direct television projects for both broadcast and cable. As part of the pod deal, Kail has enlisted Grease: Live assistant director Kate Sullivan to head development for his Old 320 Sycamore banner. Together, they'll manage the company's development slate and identify promising writers and projects for Kail to develop and supervise.
"Marc Platt is a powerhouse producer with an unparalleled track record of identifying and overseeing spectacular artists and marrying them with incredibly commercial ideas and properties,” Walden and Newman said in a joint statement. “Grease: Live brought together some of the most inspired people from the worlds of theater, live events and television production, and Marc was quite literally the guiding hand of the show.
Added Newman and Walden: "Working with Tommy on Grease: Live was an incredible experience, and we knew long before the credits rolled that night that we wanted a much more significant relationship with him. Anyone who has worked with Tommy knows just how remarkable and creative and visionary he is — he’s quite literally a force of nature. He has access to a largely untapped talent pool through his years in the New York theater, and he’s fantastically collaborative.”
Platt recently produced Grease: Live, which scored 10 Emmy nominations. The Oscar-nominated producer (Bridge of Spies) counts film projects including Legally Blonde, Into the Woods, Drive, As Good as It Gets and The Silence of the Lambs. On Broadway, his credits include Wicked and the forthcoming feature film adaptation of the Wizard of Oz prequel.
"I loved the Grease: Live experience with the Fox team and I’m looking forward to continue working with Dana and Gary and everyone on future projects," said Platt.
Kail earned a Tony for directing Hamilton, as well as the Drama Desk and Obie, among other awards. He's up for an Emmy for his oversight of Grease: Live and directed 2008 Tony-winning best musical In the Heights. His Broadway credits include Lombardi, Magic/Bird, The Wiz and Faust and he is casting and staging the next three companies of Hamilton in Chicago, San Francisco/L.A. and London as well as directing Tiny Beautiful Things. Sullivan's work includes features (500) Days of Summer, Bridesmaids and The Spiderwick Chronicles. She founded Over the Moon Productions with Jonathan Larson's Tony winner Rent and directed the L.A. premiere of Spring Awakening, among others.
“I am thrilled to have the chance to continue working with Dana and Gary, who have consistently proven their passion for cultivating new voices and inventive storytelling,” said Kail. "Working on Grease: Live with the Fox team was one of the highlights of my career, I am proud of what we made — and how we made it. I’ve always been drawn to helping find and platform new voices, surprising characters and stories that are relevant to our times. Hopefully, through this deal, we’ll be able to tell those stories in every possible form, from live events, to half-hour and hour scripted, and limited series.”