'Anger Management' Producers, Lionsgate Ink First-Look Deal

Megan Mathes Rachel Israel - H 2012

Megan Mathes Rachel Israel - H 2012

Mark Burg and Michael Menchel's Evolution Entertainment has inked a deal to develop and produce programming for the studio, with Rachel Israel set to oversee a new TV division.

Evolution Entertainment is taking its relationship with Lionsgate to the next level.

The management and production company, co-run by Mark Burg and Michael Menchel, has inked a first-look deal with the independent studio. As part of the deal, Evolution will launch a new television division, which will be overseen by newly hired senior vp Rachel Israel.  

The news comes just a day before longtime Evolution client Charlie Sheen’s Anger Management returns to FX for its 90-episode order, which will run over the course of the next two years. The latter follows a successful 10-episode trial run, which averaged 4.5 million total viewers and 2.5 million adults 18-49 demo. The Debmar-Mercury-distributed sitcom has already been sold in broadcast syndication on Fox stations for fall 2014. The company is a producer on the comedy -- just as it was on Sheen's former effort,Two and a Half Men -- and Burg serves as an executive producer on the series.

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“We have enjoyed an extraordinary collaboration with Evolution on Anger Management, so expanding the scope of our relationship with Mark, Mike and their team made perfect sense. They embody the kind of creative spirit and entrepreneurial acumen that define and drive the Lionsgate brand and we look forward to developing many more projects together,” Lionsgate Television Group president Kevin Beggs said in a statement.

Added the pair: “Our partnership with Lionsgate on Anger Management has proven to be everything we hoped for, and this new agreement is an exciting next step as we look to broaden our reach in television for both our clients and the larger community.”

Burg co-founded the firm in 1998 to produce film and TV as well as manage writers, directors and actors. In his career, Burg has produced more than 30 feature films, including the lucrative Lionsgate/Twisted Pictures’ Saw horror film franchise. The first of seven Saw films led to a distribution deal with Lionsgate and the formation of Evolution’s Twisted Pictures genre label. For his part, Menchel joined with Burg as president of Evolution in 2011. Previously, he spent more than two decades at CAA, then AMG, before moving on to become an independent producer.  

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Israel came to Evolution after a stint at Yellow Brick Road, where she served as vp programming. Before that, she served as manager of comedy programming at NBC; she began her career at Reveille, where she was director of scripted programming. Joining Israel is three-year Evolution veteran Meghan Mathes, who has been promoted to manager of development for the company's new TV division.

Email: Lacey.Rose@THR.com; Twitter: @LaceyVRose