Magazine article Screen International

Endeavor Content Co-President Discusses What's Next

Magazine article Screen International

Endeavor Content Co-President Discusses What's Next

Article excerpt

Why Chris Rice is “very bullish” about continued growth of premium television.

Chris Rice

You could say that Chris Rice got off to an early start in the agenting business. At 18, in his native UK, he convinced a record company to put up $2,000 to make a music video, a bit of youthful enterprise that soon led to a job in Los Angeles with Ridley Scott’s commercials and video company RSA Films.

Twenty-odd years later, Rice is doing something similar - albeit on a much bigger and broader scale - as co-president of Endeavor Content. And he considers himself “a pretty lucky guy” to now be in the business of helping put together what he describes as “global television shows of feature-level quality that form part of the cultural narrative.”

Unveiled last October (just after the formation by WME|IMG of its new Endeavor holding company), Endeavor Content brings together the film and scripted TV finance and sales groups of talent agency WME and sports, fashion and entertainment agency IMG.

Heading Endeavor Content as co-presidents are Graham Taylor, previously head of the WME Global group, whose focus is on film, and Rice, originally brought in by Taylor in 2010 to develop a capacity for the group to do in television what it was already doing in film.

Among the group’s early TV projects were The Night Manager (packaged by WME and sold internationally by IMG), The Young Pope (sold by WME|IMG into the US and some international markets) and Britannia (on which WME helped broker the co-production deal between Sky and Amazon).

WME connection

As presently constituted, Rice explains, Endeavor Content is essentially a sales, financing and advisory operation. And it’s an operation, of course, with a vital link to what is often considered Hollywood’s most powerful talent agency.

“We now have the capability to sell films, scripted television series and documentary features and series into every market in the world,” Rice says. “That’s something that has been the goal for many years and that is a phenomenal tool for clients of WME to be able to access.

“On the financing side, we work with sixty-plus financiers, again across those three areas. So there’s the ability to finance film and television for clients of the agency to tap into.

“And on the advisory services side, that’s about working with financiers and producers to help them build businesses. And again clients of the agency tap into that.”

The structure of Taylor and Rice’s division has been made feasible by what the latter describes as “huge amounts of crossover in terms of talent, business model and financing” between the film and TV worlds.

And the division’s scope has made Endeavor Content, claims Rice, one of the few operations “able to combine the talent perspective with a US sale perspective with an international territory-by-territory sale perspective with a financial perspective. As a group we’re able to assimilate all four of those mindsets, which helps figure out how to make a television show or movie most valuable and most creatively enhanced.”

As for the new Endeavor Content banner, that, says Rice, has “given clarity to what we’re doing. And a large part of the way we’re trying to set up is about clarity and transparency of operation.”

High-profile TV

TV projects currently being sold under the banner include Killing Eve, the BBC America thriller series from Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge that was just picked up by the BBC in the UK. …

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