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Less than a year after venturing on his own as an independent producer, Steve Stark is filming his third pilot and has a half-dozen other projects in the works.
Stark, a longtime development executive at Paramount TV and Columbia TriStar TV, ran Kelsey Grammer’s CBS Par-based Grammnet Prods. for seven years before going solo early this year with the launch of Steve Stark Prods.
“With every job I take, I say I can’t possibly work harder,” Stark said. “I’m working harder then ever now, but the rewards are greater. There is an incredible flexibility in selling directly to the networks; I am able to do things a little faster and be a little more agile.”
Stark is in production on USA Network’s hourlong pilot “Facing Kate,” which stars Sarah Shahi as a lawyer who becomes a professional mediator.
In the past 11 months, his company also produced two pilots for Lifetime: the drama “Alligator Point,” starring Cybill Shepherd, and the Sherri Shepherd-starring comedy “Sherri.”
Additionally, Stark continues to serve as an executive producer on the Grammnet/CBS Studios’ drama “Medium,” which moved to CBS in the fall after five seasons on NBC.
On the development front, Steve Stark Prods. has “The Event,” a drama project set up at NBC.
Stark approached NBC drama execs with a spec toward the end of this buying season. He was told that the network’s development slate was full with one exception: They still were looking for event-type series.
Stark immediately thought of another spec he had in his drawer from a couple of years ago titled “The Event.”
NBC bought the project, penned by Paradigm-repped Nick Wauters, which chronicles the unraveling of the greatest government cover-up in U.S. history.
“I believe this is a show that could be the ‘Lost’ or ’24’ for NBC; it’s a very big event idea,” Stark said of the project, which is being redeveloped for NBC with UMS as co-producer.
Stark also has new projects at Lifetime and USA.
At Lifetime, his company is behind an untitled drama written by Shuman Co.-repped Gay Walch that centers on an unconventional female psychologist embedded within the Dallas Police Department. Walch and Russ Buchholz are exec producing with Stark.
At USA, Steve Stark Prods. and UCP are developing “Stick,” a project about a Chicago hockey player who, after getting suspended from the league for unruly conduct, discovers that he has a knack for helping people in trouble. ICM-repped Mark Altman and Steve Kriozere are writing the script and exec producing with Buchholz and Stark.
At Warner Bros. TV, Stark has set up “Last Resort,” a comedy written by UTA-repped Robert Peacock that brings together a single mother and an eccentric lifelong bachelor who form a strange family. The project is being developed and written in-house at WBTV.
Separately, Stark has teamed with Peacock for a project based on chef Paula Deen’s life story, which the two exec produce with Barry Weiner.
In addition to “Medium,” Stark is collaborating with Grammer on “Frankenteacher,” a movie in development at the Disney Channel about a dead high school science teacher brought back to life.
The project, originally set up while Stark was at Grammnet, is being rewritten by Alan Silberberg; Grammer, his wife Camille and Stark are exec producing.
“Of all things I’m doing, my teenage daughters are most exited about that,” Stark said.
Stark also is seeking to expand into other genres, primarily variety, and has music competition series “MP3” in the works with Jamie Foxx’s company Foxx/King Entertainment; Stark co-created the project with actor-producer Nick Stabile.
That would mark a return to the unscripted field for Stark, whose student project at Northwestern was a variety pilot starring his classmates, including Julia Louis-Dreyfus, that landed him an invite to Hollywood to collaborate with producer Bob Banner and syndication veteran Al Masini on a new show. That became “Star Search,” on which the CAA-repped Stark worked for four years.
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