Joel Silver Inks First-Look TV Deal With Lionsgate

The multiyear pact kicks off with put pilot commitments at both CBS and Fox.
Courtesy of Marisa Q Photography; Concepts Art
Rodney Ferrell and Joel Silver

Joel Silver is joining forces with Lionsgate.

The prolific producer, whose film credits include The Matrix, Lethal Weapon and the Sherlock Holmes franchise, and his Silver Pictures Television production label have inked a multiyear first-look television deal with Lionsgate.

As part of the pact, the production company has a put pilot commitment from CBS for Bathory, with writer-producer David Eick (Battlestar Galactica) on board to executive produce, along with Silver and his president of Silver Pictures Television, Rodney Ferrell, who previously served as a senior film executive at Fox 2000. Set in 1600s Budapest, Bathory is a radical take on vampire mythology following the first known female serial killer, Elizabeth Bathory.

Additionally, Silver Pictures Television has a put pilot commitment from Fox for hourlong drama Soar, with Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer set to write and exec produce. The series follows a former NBA prodigy turned felon who, after being released from prison, is recruited as the head basketball coach at an upscale high school. Slavkin and Swimmer, who served as EPs on Smallville and have also worked together on Syfy series Defiance and Dominion, will exec produce along with Silver and Ferrell.

"Lionsgate has emerged as a major creative force in the global marketplace, and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to partner with Jon Feltheimer, Kevin Beggs, Sandra Stern and the rest of their management team," said Silver. "Lionsgate has established a reputation for creating some of the most groundbreaking and memorable television brands in the world, and I look forward to contributing a roster of big, audience-pleasing event properties to their incredible pipeline."

Added Lionsgate Television Group Chairman Kevin Beggs: "Joel has created some of the biggest franchises of all time and established an incredible network of relationships with top writers and other world-class creative talent. We’re thrilled at the opportunity to team with him as he focuses his creative genius on the world of television with the same emphasis on exciting, high-profile branded properties that have been his signature in the film world. We look forward to a great collaboration with Joel, Rodney and the entire Silver Pictures Television team."

While Silver has focused on feature films much of the last decade, his television credits include the HBO horror anthology series Tales From the Crypt, CBS vampire drama Moonlight and cult favorite Veronica Mars. His 70-plus feature films, which have cumulatively earned more than $14 billion worldwide, include Predator and Die Hard. Among his upcoming movies is The Nice Guys, starring Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling — set for release May 20, 2016 — through Silver’s motion picture deal with Warner Bros. Just yesterday, Warner Bros. bumped his Project X sequel (entitled Project XX) off the calendar. It was originally slated for a Sept. 19, 2016, release.

THR investigated Silver's financial struggles and relational feuds in an April feature. In the piece, Silver discussed the outward signs of money problems. "It's been a little bit of a struggle coming out of the studio system, going into the independent system, but I like it," he said. "I like being able to make the movies I want to make the way I want to make them. … I'm very happy with the situation. Very happy. It's taken a little while to put everything together, but we're doing that, and I'm very happy about it."

Read the in-depth article here.