Universal Cable Productions signs deal with Gale Anne Hurd
NBCUniversal's cable television production studio is partnering with Gale Anne Hurd's Valhalla Entertainment with the hope that the prolific veteran film producer will generate hits for the Comcast Corp.-controlled media company.
Landing a producer of Hurd's stature is noteworthy for the cable studio. Hurd has made such blockbuster movies as "Aliens," "Terminator 2," "The Incredible Hulk" and "The Abyss." Hurd's first stab at cable programming resulted in "The Walking Dead," AMC's juggernaut series, which Hurd produces with filmmaker Frank Darabont. (Last month's season finale of "The Walking Dead" drew 9 million viewers, an extraordinary number for a cable program.)
As part of the deal, announced Monday, Valhalla will develop and produce projects for NBCUniversal's cable channels, including USA Network and Syfy, and the struggling NBC broadcast network. The companies may also sell their co-produced programs outside the Comcast family to networks owned by other media giants.
The Valhalla Entertainment pact marks the third "pod deal" for Universal Cable Productions. (Unlike a first-look deal, where a producer can shop a show around, a pod arrangement is more comprehensive because the studio takes an ownership interest in all projects.) The company has similar deals with Tagline, which produces the hit "Psych" for USA Network, and Hypnotic, which produces the dramas “Covert Affairs” and “Suits” for USA as well as the comedy series “I Just Want My Pants Back” for MTV.
The agreement does not include Valhalla television shows already on the air or in the pipeline, such as "The Walking Dead" and "Port Royal," an upcoming show for FX.
Universal Cable is managed by a team of development executives that includes Richard Rothstein, Chris Sanagustin and Maira Suro. The three oversee development for USA, Syfy and external networks, respectively.
— Meg James
Photo: Producer Gale Anne Hurd with a zombie head in March at her Valhalla Entertainment offices in Los Angeles. Hurd is an executive producer of the AMC series "The Walking Dead." Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times.