The Weinstein Company, which produces films like Philomena and Silver Linings Playbook, and TV shows like “Project Runway” and “Mob Wives,” is partnering with Gannett to turn reporting from its local TV stations and newspapers into TV shows and movies.
Capital New York says the two companies will hire a development executive to manage the “first look” deal, which will take profiles and reporting from newspapers like The Arizona Republic and TV stations like WFAA Dallas and develop them into TV shows, movies or digital video programs.
“It is like having an extra hundred development offices all around the country,” said Meryl Poster, the president of television for The Weinstein Company, at Gannett’s upfront presentation in New York Wednesday morning.
The move by Gannett and T.W.C. is similar to moves made by other publishers, including Condé Nast, which launched an effort to transform its writers work into TV and film projects last year. Under the Condé Nast deal, writers and reporters would get paid a flat rate if a piece of work is optioned, and another if the production goes forward. It isn’t immediately clear how Gannett’s version of the plan would work.
“The key to finding the best [stories] is knowing where to look, many great stories have been mined from local media,” Poster said. “If I am reading it online I will save it. If I am reading it in a newspaper or magazine I will tear it out and put it in a folder and go back to it again and again. There is a pulse in that article that I can feel.
“That is what interests me most, as well as the people helping to find the stories, the editors, the reporters, the columnists, they all know the intriguing details behind the stories, that is what makes this deal with Gannett so exciting,” Poster added. “They have hundreds of news sources and thousand of people all over the country finding these stories in their local markets.”
These sorts of deals have become a potentially lucrative new revenue stream for publishers. Film and TV remain a big business, even as magazines and newspapers have struggled in recent years. A hit film or TV show can provide a cash windfall.