Thursday, 23 August 2012

Hollywood Babble On & On #944: Legendary Tunes Out Of Television

Legendary Entertainment, the production and financing juggernaut behind the Chris Nolan/Batman trilogy, and about a dozen other major big screen blockbusters is shutting down their TV division, ending their partnership deal with Warner Brothers TV division, and putting their plans to expand into television on hold.

Now you are probably wondering why such a successful and growing company would want to drop out of a market that is so potentially lucrative.

The answer is development.

Legendary reportedly didn't care for the way networks develop new TV shows.

Development is the process where a studio or a network "develops" anything from a completed screenplay to a rough idea, into something that can be made into a movie or TV show.

That means polishing the script, recruiting cast, director, producers, and in the case of television convincing a network into commissioning a pilot.

Once a pilot's made the network can decide to make it into a series or not.

And by the way, during every step in the TV development process, every executive in the company and their cousin gets to toss in their two cents, and if you don't take every word from every yahoo like it's gospel, the project is sunk.

And then there's the element of internal network politics you have to deal with.  A classic example is if the network's vice-president champions your show, there's no way the network's president is going to endorse it, because it might make the vice-president look good as a potential replacement for the president.

Does that make any sense?

If it doesn't, then you can at least take the lesson that very little in major TV network develop makes even less sense than my little statement.

Network TV development is inefficient, slow, erratic, wasteful, and lets a lot of shit go through. Just look at NBC's schedule. The exit of Legendary, simply because it couldn't do any business, should be seen as a wake-up call.

But it probably won't.


  1. Rainforest Giant her,


    There must be some relatively honest and hungry TV production company out there. Is Legendary tied to WB TV? Or could they shop around for a good fit? Could they try grabbing a chunk o' Dick for themselves or do they need to partner for financial reasons? Do they have the ability to do the development in house and distribution through an honest or at least mostly honest second party?

  2. I don't think WBTV was the problem, I think it was dealing with the networks was what drove them out of TV for the time being.

    Legendary is a big organization with deep financing and does do a lot of their feature film development in house, and in their own way. WB doesn't really rock the boat with them since they have a pretty good batting average as a production partner.

    However, in TV, development is dominated by the networks, and they don't care about your track record, or your development methods, they have territory to mark, and can make getting a TV show on air a nightmarish experience.

    Legendary doesn't have to take the network's shit and call it ice cream, and they're not going to bother.

  3. Blast Hardcheese23/8/12 3:38 pm

    If you've ever listened to Adam Carolla's podcasts, he has plenty of horror stories about getting pilots off of the ground. The stupidest thing is that, if a pilot isn't picked up, they Never Look At It Again. Even if the previous network head goes out in a cloud of disgrace, the incoming guys never say 'gee, maybe he missed a good one?' and look through the archives. Nope, just take that $4-5 Million dollar effort and shelve it away forever.

  4. Well, NBC's motto ought to be, 'we don't give a rip'. So does Abrams and guys like that have to put up with as much bs? Does a proven track record make a difference or are they asses to everyone?

    Rainforest Giant

  5. Track records can only insulate you so much from network development meddling. You also have to have the support of the right people at the network to go with it.