Magazine article Variety

Big Ambitions for Small Screens

Magazine article Variety

Big Ambitions for Small Screens

Article excerpt

In August, IM Global launched a television division, IM Global Television, and now has eight projects in various stages of development.

"Our plan was very much to be methodical, and we're well ahead of where I expected," says Mark Stern, president of IM Global Television. Actually, Stem and his assistant comprise the entire television division, although he expects to add a development executive once they have a series or two in production.

Having next to no staff might seem daunting, but Stern enjoys the entrepreneurial vibe and the support he gets from the rest of the company's infrastructure. He says IM Global founder-CEO Stuart Ford's focus on pursuing new challenges, entertaining new business approaches and diving right into projects perfectly complements today's rapidly changing TV landscape.

"It's an exciting time for television, and there's great opportunity if you can be flexible and look for chances to take advantage of some of the new opportunities out there," says Stern, noting there are probably 40 different buyers of scripted television right now, and most are hungry for quality content to stand out from the pack.

"I'm particularly excited about overthe-top streaming opportunities," he says. "It's not just Hulu, Amazon and Netflix. It's Crackle. It's Sony PlayStation - new places are getting into that business every day. I'd love to be working with a new platform and be its marquee show. Who knows what the next big thing will be?"

While concentrating on high-concept, straight-to-series shows and miniseries in the sci-fi/fantasy/horror genre, Stern wants projects with international appeal. He's already put two spec scripts into development, optioned books and solicited - and commissioned - projects from some of the genre's star players.

Stern says he's having fun meeting with people, especially when they start discussing an idea only to come up with two or three additional ones.

"Every project has different requirements, and that's been a little daunting because as a new company we're setting up precedents and figuring out how we're going to work competitively with people and against the other studios," he says. "There's no set way of doing things, and that's where being part of a company like IM Global benefits us, because you can be nimble in how you work."

Stern's priority is producing quality television, whether it's a big-budget period piece or a smaller-budget co-production.

He cites "Orphan Black" as an example of the type of show he wants to produce. …

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