Charter Communications’ new original content studio has made its first order, signing on to underwrite female buddy cop drama “L.A.’s Finest,” which will star Gabrielle Union and Jessica Alba.
The show—billed as a spinoff of the Martin Lawrence/Will Smith 1990s action comedy film series “Bad Boys”—is the first major content acquisition for Charter. In January, Charter hired veteran TV industry production executive Katherine Pope to oversee joint ventures signed by the cable operator last year with Viacom and AMC to co-produce original series.
Pope’s shingle even has a name now: “Spectrum Original Content.”
Sony Pictures Television will handle the actual production of the show, with Jerry Bruckheimer listed as the executive producer. The pilot, which was penned by Brandon Margolis and Brandon Sonnier—writers on NBC’s “The Blacklist”—was first developed for NBC, which dropped it over the spring. Sonnier and Margolis will serve as showrunners.
“Charter is excited to partner with top producers Sony, Bruckheimer and the rest of the incredible team behind and in front of the camera on our first Spectrum Original Content endeavor,” said Pope, who is Charter’s senior VP and head of original content. “Our content partnerships offer us a great opportunity to provide Spectrum customers with the dynamic, authentic and unique programming that drives value for their Spectrum subscription.”
“Charter has a strong passion for the project and we could not be more excited. Immediately we knew this innovative new platform was absolutely the right home for ‘L.A.’s Finest,’” added Jeff Frost, president of Sony Pictures Television. Working out of a Los Angeles office, Pope joined Charter from Studio 8, where she spearheaded the launch of the company’s TV division. Prior to that, she served as president of television for Chernin Entertainment and spent 10 years at NBCUniversal TV Studios.
In April of last year, Charter announced a deal with AMC Networks in which the programmer’s studio unit will produce exclusive shows for the cable operator’s Spectrum platform.
The companies said at the time that they expected the first shows co-produced and co-funded through the deal to premiere on Charter Spectrum in 2018. Under the agreement, Charter will have an exclusive initial window in the U.S., while AMC Studios will retain subsequent rights, including the right to distribute the content internationally.
“We see original content as a way to further differentiate the Spectrum customer experience,” said Charter spokesman Justin Venech in an email to Fierce in January. “We have previously announced our co-production plans with AMC and Viacom, and we will continue to explore opportunities for the development of original content. We have no comment beyond that at this time.