MIPCOM: Tom Fontana, Gaumont International Television Sign Two-Show Deal (Exclusive)

Tom Fontana - Deauville - 2011

The Emmy winner will develop hostage, sci-fi prison dramas for L.A.-based GIT

The Negotiator has a deal.

It will be one of two drama series Gaumont International Television (GIT) and Emmy-winning writer-producer Tom Fontana will develop, the company announced at the start of MIPCOM.

Based on the 2011 bestselling memoir of psychologist-turned-hostage negotiator Ben Lopez, The Negotiator: My Life at the Heart of the Hostage Trade, the drama will delve into the world of K&R (kidnap and ransom).

The deal was announced by GIT CEO Katie O’Connell.

“It’s a really interesting character study about someone that goes in and specializes in K&R, and there’s a complexity to that character going into those situations," O’Connell told The Hollywood Reporter. "Tom is perfectly suited to embrace that.”

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The second project from the Oz creator will be a gritty sci-fi series, Falling Onto Mars, based on the Hugo-winning short story about a prison colony on the red planet.

Fontana and producing partner Barry Levinson will executive produce both projects.

"Katie O'Connell and the Gaumont team have been doing some of the most intriguing series on television,” said Fontana. “I'm delighted to be developing, with them, two very unique and groundbreaking projects."

GIT, the offshoot of France’s storied cinema producer Gaumont, produces NBC’s Hannibal and Netflix’s Hemlock Grove, both of which are entering their third season, and the highly anticipated Pablo Escobar drama Narcos, also for Netflix.

“We’re trying to take a very measured approach and not put together volume, but to have shows that we can bring to market to go straight to series,” said O’Connell. “There’s a lot of adrenaline to the shows, but a lot of deep character study and getting into all facets of the human psyche.”

Though the company, which launched at MIPTV last year, has firmly established itself as a “drama brand” thus far, it hopes to announce a comedy project soon, O’Connell added.