Leading independent drama producer and distributor Reel One Entertainment is ramping up its push into scripted series, acquiring screen rights to the classic Philip K. Dick novella “Second Variety” and attaching veteran showrunner David Titcher to adapt.
In addition, the company has further expanded its series team with the appointment of former Channel 4 and Motion Content Group exec Dominic Schreiber as Global Drama Executive.
Reel One, which earlier this year appointed “Cleverman” exec producer Adam Fratto as its LA-based SVP of TV series, has picked up the rights to the novella, which anticipated many of the science fiction classics of the last 50 years, as well as the cult “Screamers” movie adaptation.
An intense, provocative story of war and technology, “Second Variety” touches on many of the themes explored in Dick’s other masterpieces, such as “Blade Runner” and “The Man in the High Castle.” When the US develops a military weapon with artificial intelligence to defeat its adversaries, the lethal killing machines eventually take on a life of their own and threaten to wipe out humanity itself.
The novella was previously adapted into the 1995 film “Screamers,” starring Peter Weller and directed by Christian Duguay.
David Titcher (“The Librarian,” “Houdini and Doyle”) will write and EP the one-hour TV series. Reel One Entertainment will produce in association with Charles W. Fries (“Martian Chronicles”) of Fries Film Company and Antony I. Ginnane (“Patrick”) who will executive produce.
“With global anxiety about both weapons technology and artificial intelligence at an all-time high, this series is incredibly timely. David Titcher has created a unique story, filled with incisive social commentary, kick-ass action, and the kind of mind-blowing twists that audiences have come to expect from any Phillip K. Dick adaptation,” said Adam Fratto, Reel One’s SVP of TV Series.
Fries (known as the Godfather of the TV Movie) recognised the value of the Phillip K. Dick original material in 1984 and worked with Reel One founder and CEO Tom Berry to bring the original “Screamers” movie to the screen through Sony / Triumph. Ginnane is a long-term film and TV producer in Australia.
The series is the first to be unveiled since Fratto joined the company in May to oversee the new push into scripted. A seasoned executive and producer with ties to both Hollywood and international broadcasters, Fratto has been busy building up a slate of projects from both North American and European creators and producers, ranging from crime procedurals to high concept genre series, with an emphasis on out-of-the-box business models.
Added Fratto: “As we grow our series business, we are looking for shows that are of the highest creative caliber, distinctive enough to cut through the global media clutter, suited for innovative business approaches, and a fit for our international distribution pipeline.”
Prior to joining Reel One, Fratto helped supervise the hit TV series “Mary Kills People” for Lifetime Television and executive produced the acclaimed sci-fi series “Cleverman” with Pukeko Pictures, Goalpost Pictures and Red Arrow Entertainment. He also developed and co-EP’d the supernatural procedural “Haven,” which ran for five seasons on Syfy in the U.S. and on Universal-branded channels around the world.
Schreiber, meanwhile, has joined the company’s London office. He will work with Fratto and SVP Head of Distribution Louisa Cadywould to build up a slate of series for the international market, while forging close relationships with writers, producers and broadcasters across Europe.
Schreiber was most recently Executive Producer, Scripted, for Motion Content Group, where he served as EP on the Sky One drama “The Last Dragonslayer,” a co-production between Motion and Blueprint Pictures.
Prior to that, he was International Development Manager at Channel 4, where he was responsible for spearheading the channel’s drama co-production strategy and helped to structure its first international co-production with Kudos Film and Television, for the hit supernatural drama series “Humans”.
During his time at Channel 4, Dominic oversaw a development slate of ambitious drama projects, including a major new adaptation of “A Tale of Two Cities,” from leading British screenwriter Alan Bleasdale; Rainmark Film’s period crime thriller “The Frankenstein Chronicles;” and Foxtel’s supernatural series “The Kettering Incident.”
He was also instrumental in the acquisition of the Bafta-nominated series “Les Revenants.”
About Reel One
Headquartered in Montreal with offices in London, Los Angeles and Vancouver, Reel One Entertainment develops, finances, produces and distributes commercial scripted programming for a worldwide audience. Founded in 2001 by media entrepreneur Tom Berry, Reel One is one of the most prolific independent producers and distributors in the TV sector. Already a leading provider of television movies, the company has recently branched out into the production and distribution of scripted TV series.