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The new pact — it’s not an extension of his previous deal that expires in 2024 — is described as a partnership that will see Berlanti Productions serve as a mini-studio within the larger WBTV Group. Sources say the joint partnership will reward him based on the successes of the programming he delivers. His current deal, which was negotiated by his former agency WME, included bonuses based on the number of shows that Berlanti delivered. With The CW no longer in the volume business that afforded Berlanti the opportunity to set a record for the most TV series on the air at a given time, the backbone of the agreement needed to change. This new deal was spearheaded by CAA, which signed the megaproducer in December following a 15-year run with WME.
Berlanti’s new deal should come as no surprise. Sources told THR that Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav had reached out to Berlanti to sign a new deal with the newly supersized conglomerate. With those discussions having started while Berlanti was still with WME, the producer’s attorney, Patti Felker, sent a letter to WME that cut the agency out of any new potential overall deal.
“Greg is a huge talent, and the impact of his prolific and powerful storytelling on Warner Bros. and audiences, and on our culture, is just ‘wow.’ He began his career with us, and we are incredibly fortunate that he will continue to build and grow our TV studio into the future,” WBD CEO David Zaslav said.
The agreement is for TV only. Berlanti continues to have a film pact with Netflix, which signed the prolific director after his long tenure at Fox.
“We’re beyond thrilled to continue our partnership with one of the most accomplished, celebrated, and compelling storytellers in the industry. Greg is a visionary, a pioneer, and a leader, but more than that, he’s a treasured member of the Warner Bros. family. Collaborating with Greg is a tremendous privilege, and we can’t wait to see what stories he and his team will bring to life in the coming years,” said Warner Bros. TV Group chairman Channing Dungey, who alongside her No. 2, Brett Paul, oversaw Berlanti’s new deal.
To say Berlanti has been the most important showrunner for Warners would be an understatement. While others have achieved awards and blockbuster notoriety, Berlanti has been more of a workhorse. Berlanti, who has been based at WBTV since 2001 when it was overseen by Peter Roth, has produced/created more than 40 shows over the past two decades. During the 2019-20 season, he had a record 20 shows on the air or in production at the same time, covering five nights of the week over six different networks and streamers. Berlanti Productions, which he runs with Sarah Schechter, has more than 15 shows on the air or shooting at the moment.
“Every day I wake up grateful I get to get tell stories for a living with so many talented people that I love,” Berlanti said. “With this deal, I’ll be lucky enough to be going into my third decade of making TV and calling Warner Bros. my home. The TV business has changed and Warner Bros. has changed, too, but I’m as grateful as ever to be making television and working with a passionate, brilliant, and kind leader like Channing Dungey and alongside a wise and tremendous old friend like Brett Paul. In my time getting to know David Zaslav, he is the most rare of Hollywood leaders: honest, loyal, and visionary about the kind of thriving Warner Bros. he wants to build for the future, where storytellers like myself can have a home to tell stories that excite and move audiences all over the world, for years to come.”
The deal comes as WBD has faced a rising tide of changes after Discovery gobbled up Warners. Berlanti’s Green Lantern series has been redeveloped, and a planned Strange Adventures show for DC had been tossed. DC, too, is facing major changes ahead with the arrival of James Gunn to steer the comic book powerhouse’s new creative direction. It’s unclear how Berlanti — who created The CW’s Arrowverse of series — will fit into that equation.
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