Entertainment One Pushes Into Digital Production With Pilot Slate (Exclusive)
One of the studio's first projects is a workplace horror-comedy series starring Daniel Stern and 'Party Girl' star Lisa Schwartz.
Entertainment One is adding digital production to its business.
The studio and distributor has tapped television executive producer Ira Pincus and television manager Angela Nikas to lead the digital effort. Together, they have already lined up a number of short-form projects that they will pitch to the swath of digital buyers that have emerged in recent years.
Pincus, with his background producing low-budget films, and Nikas, who has worked with digital talent in the past, bring experience in this space to eOne, which is known for its film and television distribution business and also is currently producing HBO's Sharp Objects. "It's a great time to jump in," says Pincus. "Yes, we have the big boys like Amazon, Netflix and Hulu, but now we have all these platforms. Those platforms will eventually want to grow up to be the Hulus, Netflixs and Amazons."
One of eOne's first projects is Captain Karl's Institute for the Abnormally Bizarre, a workplace horror-comedy that will follow what happens when Captain Karl is mysteriously found dead. Luke Barnett and Vincent Masciale, the team behind 2016 horror film Fear Inc., are producing under their Lone Suspect banner, with Barnett writing and Masciale directing. Lisa Schwartz (Party Girl), Daniel Stern (Home Alone), Kate Flannery (The Office) and Danny Woodburn (Seinfeld) are set to star. Filming on the pilot for Captain Karl begins Friday.
The push into short-form production comes six months after eOne, which owns digital and virtual reality studio Secret Location, invested in digital studio Canvas Media Studio and inked a first-look deal with the company, whose co-founder, Bernie Su, created YouTube series The Lizzie Bennett Diaries. Pincus says eOne will leverage that relationship as it begins to take pitches out to the digital platforms. Already, eOne is co-developing a project with Canvas called Werqing Girl. The series hails from Dirty 30's Molly Prather and is set to star online influencer Andrea Russett.
In addition, eOne is co-developing mockumentary House Whisperers with XRM Media. The series, from writer Blair Butler, spoofs home renovation shows by envisioning what would happen if they were haunted by ghosts.
Pincus notes that the digital team will work closely with its film and television counterparts. Because he and Nikas will be scouting up-and-coming talent, the hope would be to them work with them on feature projects or television pitches, too.
EOne is targeting buyers of short-form and digital programming such as Verizon's go90, Comcast's Watchable, YouTube Red and Facebook. Though few of these platforms have yet to prove their ability to draw and retain an audience, Nikas says eOne isn't concerned. "These will be the cable networks of tomorrow," she explains. "Budgets will only continue grow. All of these platforms are one big show away from being able to put a lot more resources behind their platform."
If Pincus has his way, eOne will have the show that helps turn one (or more) of these platforms into a hit with audiences. Says Pincus: "That's the goal."