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Scott Rudin Goes TV

Scott Rudin Goes TV

Scott Rudin is having a good day. While rival Harvey Weinstein didn’t even scare up a Tony nomination for his Broadway show “Finding Neverland,” veteran theater producer Rudin’s “Skylight” starring Bill Nighy and Carey Mulligan took home the Tony for Best Drama Revival.

And, Variety reported Monday, the top-flight New York-based movie producer (“The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “Captain Phillips,” “The Social Network,” “True Grit” and “The Queen,” among many others) is bowing to the inevitable and moving into television. Scott Rudin Productions has closed a three-year first-look deal with Fox Networks Group.

Rudin will develop and produce TV properties for Fox Broadcasting, FX Networks and National Geographic Channel. Twentieth Century Fox TV will produced Fox projects, while FX Productions will produce for FX Networks and National Geographic Channel. This is a feather in the cap of Fox’s Peter Rice, who got to know Rudin well when he was running Fox Searchlight. Rudin was once a production executive at the studio.
Rudin has been producing for Sony since he left his deal at Paramount. Rudin often works with Aaron Sorkin (HBO’s “The Newsroom) and produced “Silicon Valley.” Rudin was sharp enough to chase Lena Dunham after “Tiny Furniture,” offering her a literary project to adapt into a movie, but she followed her muse to HBO, Judd Apatow and “Girls.” Fox recently lured filmmaker Lee Daniels (“Precious”) to make “Empire,” which is a huge hit. Rudin’s frequent collaborator Noah Baumbach admitted to me that if Netflix and Amazon long-form series had existed when he and Rudin put together their ambitious adaptation of Jonathan Franzen’s “The Corrections,” it might have been able to go forward.

It’s exciting to think about what Rudin will do. But it’s yet another sign that the movie business is not as fertile and friendly to the likes of Rudin as it once was, and that’s not a good thing. If he makes more theater and television, will we see fewer of his Oscar-contenders? 

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