By Nellie Andreeva
EXCLUSIVE: Storyline Entertainment’s Craig Zadan and Neil Meron have signed a new two-year deal with Sony Pictures Television for TV movies and miniseries. The duo, who just closed a first-look deal with Universal TV and NBCUniversal International for series and specials, have set up several high-profile new longform projects: movies about Anna Nicole Smith and Warren Jeffs at Lifetime and a Bonnie & Clyde miniseries at History.
Sony’s TV movie/mini EVP Helen Verno brought Zadan and Meron to the Sony TV fold nearly twenty years ago, making Zadan and Meron’s partnership with the studio one of the longest in the TV movie/miniseries business. Their first collaboration was the award-winning 1994 movie Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story. Since then, Zadan, Maron and Sony TV have done more than a dozen movie and minis together, including new takes on titles from the Sony libraries like A Raisin in the Sun and Zadan’s upcoming passion project, a Steel Magnolias remake for Lifetime starring Queen Latifah, Phylicia Rashad, Alfre Woodard. “(Sony TV president) Steve Mosko is a one of a kind executive and a true inspiration and supporter of our longform work, while others have walked away from the genre,” Zadan and Meron said.
Storyline’s longform development slate with Sony TV includes a biopic of the late Anna Nicole Smith at Lifetime written by John Rice and Joe Batteer. Also in the works at Lifetime is a biopic of another controversial figure, jailed FLDS Church leader Warren Jeffs, which is written by Art Monterastelli. On the two movies, as well as Lifetime’s recently aired Blue Lagoon film, Zadan and Meron teamed with Judith Verno who executive produces with them.
On the heels of the runway success of its Hatfields and McCoys miniseries, History has partnered with Zadan and Meron to develop another mini about another famous duo from America’s past. A four-hour event miniseries based on the true story of Bonnie and Clyde is being written by Rice and Batteer. Additionally, Zadan and Meron have a movie about the life of Bob Fosse set up at HBO. Matthew Wilder is writing, and Bryan Singer is on board to direct and produce. Zadan and Meron also have a slew of longform projects in internal development at Sony, including a six-hour miniseries based on Studio 54, written by Gary Lennon.
In addition to their TV movies, which have garnered 69 Emmy nominations, Zadan and Meron executive produce the NBC series Smash and Lifetime’s Drop Dead Diva. They recently signed on to produce a live Sound Of Music TV special for NBC.