Blink49 Studios partners with Jeff Wachtel’s new production banner

The Toronto studio is a strategic investor in Future Shack Entertainment, signing a long-term distribution and production deal on Canadian projects.

Toronto’s Blink49 Studios has partnered with U.S. network veteran Jeff Wachtel in the launch of his production company Future Shack Entertainment.

The former USA Network and Universal Content Productions (UCP) president will serve as CEO of the banner, which will develop and co-finance TV projects for the global market. Partners Sam Michaels, former SVP, head of strategy and business development at NBCUniversal, and investment banker Yusik Choi, have been named COO and CFO, respectively.

Blink49, led by former eOne exec John Morayniss, is a strategic investor in the prodco. It has also signed a long-term production and development deal with Future Shack, with Blink49 handling production and distribution for all projects based in Canada.

Future Shack has also signed a first-look development deal with AVOD The Roku Channel to develop “sky blue” programming, akin to the programming Wachtel spearheaded while at the USA Network, according to a news release.

Projects currently in development at Future Shack include adaptations of author Walter Mosley’s novels, a new adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game with Gigi Pritzker’s U.S. prodco Madison Wells, and limited series Restoration, about the 1991 theft of more than half a billion dollars’ worth of paints from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

Future Shack is currently in discussions with an asset management firm to support its co-financing strategy, with plans to partner with international broadcasters on series that need additional funds, in exchange for a stake in sales.

Wachtel has built out the executive team with Larry Sullivan, formerly head of development of Conaco Entertainment, as president, creative, and former Sony Pictures Television exec Pamela Parker as head of business affairs. Peacock’s former acquisitions head Frances Manfredi has also been named as senior advisor.

Blink49 and Bell Media recently secured a long-term development deal with Scarborough, Ont. talent Lilly Singh, with a first-look agreement on scripted projects and second-look for unscripted. Blink49 will produce and distribute any titles greenlit under the deal while Bell Media serves as the Canadian broadcaster.

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