Oscar-Winning 'Chicago' Producer Don Carmody Gets Into the TV Game

Don Carmody - PR Head Shot - 2011

The Canadian exec talks with THR about plans for limited series and miniseries for the small screen but on a bigger scale typical of his popular film franchises.

TORONTO -- Oscar-winning movie producer Don Carmody is branching out into TV.

The major studios, which since the 1980s have entrusted Carmody with their movie projects, including the 2002 musical Chicago, because he could lower their costs by making them in Canada, is now out to do the same in television.

“I make audience-pleasers, and I can do that in TV as well,” the veteran film producer, whose action-thriller franchise Resident Evil is nearing gross global box office of $1 billion, tells The Hollywood Reporter.

The trick is to make on-time and on-budget studio projects in Canada, whether pilots or full series, on a fee-for-service basis.

The target market is U.S. TV series that are shot in Vancouver or Toronto with local talent and crews.

And on the domestic side, Carmody and partner David Cormican, a former Mind’s Eye Entertainment exec, will develop and produce with local and foreign partners high-end limited series and miniseries along the lines of HBO's Game of Thrones and Showtime's The Borgias.

Carmody says his Resident Evil and Silent Hill franchises underline how he’s figured out how to successfully structure and produce internationally co-produced movies out of Canada.

Now, on the TV side, he'll make multinational TV series underpinned by Canadian creative and production subsidies. 

“The truth is, now is a great time to be developing both domestic-driven programming [and] exploring foreign service partnerships to capitalize on production arrangements in Canada,” Carmody insists.

The veteran producer and Cormican worked together on the zombie-horror feature film 13 Eerie, before pacting on TV production.

“We’re really looking for commercial projects that appeal to a wide audience,” Cormican says, "and we’re focused on the economies of scale we can achieve and the relationships we have internationally to create a recognizable TV brand in Canada."

Their formal tie-up was sealed by John Barrack, the former COO of the Canadian Media Production Association who will provide legal counsel for the TV startup and take a modest stake in the venture.

Don Carmody Television isn’t reinventing the wheel.

A number of Canadian producers including Entertainment One, Thunderbird Films, Take Five Productions and Shaftesbury Films already have Los Angeles offices from which to make global TV shows for the North American and world markets.

Their model is hiring emerging and established Canadian screenwriters and directors, often based in Los Angeles, to create homegrown dramas for Canadian networks that also can be sold internationally.

Taking advantage of Canadian tax credits and other production subsidies also allows the local producers to punch above their weight as they work with foreign partners, including the U.S. networks.

Having Cormican oversee the TV business will allow Carmody to forge ahead with his movie slate, which includes producing The Mortal Instruments, based on the young-adult fantasy book series by Cassandra Clare, and Paul W.S. Anderson’s period epic Pompeii, to be shot in Toronto at Cinespace Film Studios.

"Breaking Bad is right up my alley," Carmody says of the template for high-end TV dramas he and Cormican will produce out of Canada.