EXCLUSIVEStarlings Entertainment has acquired a financial stake in British drama producer StoryFirst, backed by Lord Michael Grade, as part of a broad deal that will see the two companies merge into scripted series.
The two companies have formed a joint development fund as part of the agreement and have established their first two projects, including the 1970s stage, the Eric Clapton-influenced musical business drama. Manager.
The development fund will cover premium drama and family entertainment and also includes Sherlock’s daughter, a murder mystery executive produced by The closer creator James Duff than the producer of The CW’s Pandora and Peacock’s Departure has been developing.
The deal gives Starlings Entertainment a stake in StoryFirst, whose founders, including former BBC President, Channel 4 CEO and ITV Grade CEO Peter Gerwe and Ivan Dunleavy, former CEO of Pinewood Studios Group, acquired Pinewood Television in 2017.
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Starlings Entertainment CEO and Executive Producer Karine Martin and StoryFirst’s Gerwe will oversee the decision-making process for the company. They will work with Starlings Executive Vice President Patricia Brown and Television President Chris Philip with Brown and Premila Hoon, on behalf of StoryFirst, as liaisons for company development funds.
Regarding projects, Manager is a semi-fictional account of life in the music business of the 70s and 80s, inspired by the lives – and featuring the music – of Eric Clapton and other artists. Sherlock’s Daughter tracks the daughter of the world’s greatest detective in her search for her father and what she discovers along the way.
“This will allow us to take advantage of an additional line of large projects in addition to the tremendous success we have had to date with Starlings Television, further increase our ability to fund development and expand our respective networks,” said Martin. “StoryFirst is well established in the UK and Europe, giving us access to the market knowledge, experience and extraordinary talent, partners and financial relationships of Peter, Michael and Ivan.”
Gerwe added: “Our joint venture enables Story First to expand our global reach with Starlings, which is very well positioned in the US and Canada. Karine and Chris bring us a wealth of experience and contacts, and it has been a pleasure working with them and their entire team on various projects. We believe that this partnership will greatly benefit the development potential and resources of each company, and we consider it an excellent option. “