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MGM sets sights on more television series in the coming years

26-Dec-2011 • Bond News

MGM is repositioning itself with a focus on developing properties aimed at television, according to a new interview with co-chief executives Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum in the Wall Street Journal.

As part of the restructuring phase after the financial debacle last year, MGM has cut its staff from 450 to 300 and laid off 17 of its 20 lawyers.

"The culture was, from our point of view, way off-base," Mr. Birnbaum said. "In every area of this company, we're going to run things differently now."

The new television division, headed by Roma Khanna, is aiming to develop "two to three new series a year". MGM is developing original concepts and mining for source material amid the company's vast library of more than 4,000 film titles and 10,500 television episodes.

According to the WSJ, currently in development are "series based on 'The Silence of the Lambs' character Clarice Starling, the FBI trainee played on film by Jodie Foster, and on the Coen brothers' black comedy 'Fargo.'"

Its films are now being produced through co-financing deals that hand off to other studios the labor-intensive work of theatrical distribution. A five-year agreement with Sony Pictures Entertainment requires Sony to offer MGM the opportunity to cofinance several of its films a year (MGM declined to specify how many), and gives Sony the right of first refusal on films for which MGM is seeking a cofinancing partner.

Sony and MGM sealed the deal last year for Bond 23 ("Skyfall") and Bond 24.

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