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Emmy Rossum’s post-Shameless career is going to be spent at Universal Content Productions.
The actress and director has signed a first-look overall deal with the cable- and streaming-focused studio. The pact extends Rossum’s relationship with UCP, for whom she is starring in and executive producing the limited series Angelyne, based on The Hollywood Reporter‘s feature story about the life of the Los Angeles billboard diva. Sources say Angelyne is being picked up by NBCUniversal’s forthcoming streaming service as its first scripted original.
Under the pact, Rossum will develop premium scripted content for the studio under her newly launched Composition 8 banner. Rossum joins her husband, Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail, at the studio. Esmail, who recently renewed his deal with UCP, is exec producing Angelyne alongside Rossum.
“Emmy is an amazing talent and a force of nature. Over this past year we have had the pleasure of working closely with her as a producer and know firsthand that her talents know no bounds. We are lucky to have this triple threat in our family,” UCP and Wilshire Studios president Dawn Olmstead said Wednesday in a statement.
Rossum is fresh off a nine-season run on Showtime’s Shameless, where she played the eldest sibling and matriarch of the rag-tag Gallagher family. Rossum made her directorial debut on Shameless (produced by Warner Bros. TV) and went on to helm two episodes of the series, as well as installments of TNT’s Animal Practice and Amazon’s upcoming Modern Love.
“The opportunity to tell stories is a gift and there has been no greater time than now for women to lead the charge. I am thrilled to be partnering with UCP to create opportunity for new and diverse voices,” said Rossum, who famously fought for and achieved salary parity with Shameless male lead William H. Macy.
Rossum will star as Angelyne, the L.A.-raised daughter of Holocaust survivors and self-created pop culture icon, in the limited series based on THR‘s award-winning senior writer Gary Baum’s investigative feature. Baum will serve as a consultant — and character — on the drama after spending months researching Angelyne’s past. The series is the first scripted TV adaptation of a Hollywood Reporter article since the publication’s reinvention as a weekly magazine and home for longform journalism. Oscar nominee Nancy Oliver (Lars and the Real Girl) will pen the script and exec produce alongside Esmail and his Esmail Corp banner, Anonymous Content’s Chad Hamilton and Baum.
Rossum joins a roster of producers with deals at UCP including Esmail, Charlize Theron, John Carpenter and Kathleen Robertson, among others. Rossum’s pact arrives as the overall deals space continues to remain red-hot with outlets like NBCUniversal, Disney and WarnerMedia planning streaming services of their own in a bid to compete with Netflix. The latter ignited a war for top talent after signing broadcast-based super-producers Ryan Murphy and Shonda Rhimes to exclusive overall deals. Since then, traditional studios like UCP and ABC Studios have been aggressive in pursuing top talent for overall deals, with the price tags often reaching eight and nine figures.
Angelyne will mark the second time Rossum and Esmail have worked together. They met while Esmail was making his directorial debut, Comet, in which Rossum starred. The couple married in May 2017.
Rossum, whose credits also include The Phantom of the Opera, Mystic River, Beautiful Creatures, Poseidon and The Day After Tomorrow, is repped by CAA, MGMT Entertainment and Felker Toczek.
NBCUniversal’s unnamed streaming platform is expected to launch in 2020. The ad-supported, direct-to-consumer platform will be overseen by Bonnie Hammer.
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