Lionsgate Sets First-Look TV Deal With Universal Music Group

Lionsgate/Photofest

The 'La La Land' studio will develop original scripted and unscripted TV projects drawn from the group's stable of labels, artists and music.

Lionsgate on Monday unveiled a first-look deal with Universal Music Group to co-produce music-driven scripted and unscripted projects for the Lionsgate Television Group drawn from the group's stable of labels, artists and music.

The multiyear TV deal with UMG, which counts Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and The Rolling Stones among its roster, will see Lionsgate and Polygram Entertainment, the music group's film and TV production unit, comb through the artistry, stories and recordings from labels like Capitol, Def Jam, Interscope, Island, Republic, Universal Music Nashville, Universal Music Latin Entertainment, Verve, Motown and Blue Note to produce premium programming.

UMG, a Vivendi company, will also produce soundtrack albums for projects created under the partnership. Lionsgate's TV arm, led by chairman Kevin Beggs, has seen scripted programming revenue skyrocket in recent years on the strength of the shows it produces, including Orange Is the New Black, Nashville, Greenleaf and Dear White People.

"With Polygram, UMG has produced award-winning films and we can't wait to see what we can accomplish together in television. We see so much opportunity for storytelling in the talent and properties that UMG represents, and we look forward to working together to bring these incredible stories to life in a way that resonates with a global audience," Beggs said in a statement.

His TV agreement builds on Lionsgate and UMG’s track record with film scores and soundtracks for La La Land (Interscope), Hunger Games (Republic) and Divergent (Interscope), as the two companies cement their collaborative ties. "Polygram has become a home for Hollywood’s brightest talent to tell the stories behind the music that audiences around the world love, and our partnership with Lionsgate represents a significant step forward in our television and audiovisual strategy, as well as our evolution as a global media company," Michele Anthony, executive vp UMG, said in a separate statement.

The tie-up with Lionsgate also follows Vivendi announcing it will sell up to half of UMG to one or more strategic partners and has ruled out a planned initial public offering.

"There’s never been a more exciting time to be in the music space and I feel fortunate to be at a company that is uniquely positioned at the intersection of film, television and music with an unrivaled roster of artists who continue to impact culture globally. With this new partnership, we’re perfectly positioned to deliver thrilling music-driven stories that will excite fans for years to come," David Blackman, UMG’s head of film and television development and production, added in his own statement.

Polygram recently co-distributed with Studio Canal The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years, and is producing an authorized Motown documentary, with Berry Gordy executive producing. Polygram is also financing the upcoming Luciano Pavarotti documentary from director Ron Howard, and The Velvet Underground documentary, directed by Todd Haynes.