Universal Soldier TV Series in Development

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FremantleMedia announced both the reboot of “Universal Soldier” as a TV series and the new drama series “Blood & Treasure,” from the creator and executive producer of the “National Treasure” movies, at MIPCOM 2011 in Cannes today. First up is the “Universal Soldier” announcement:

FremantleMedia Enterprises (FME), the commercial and brand extension arm of FremantleMedia, today announced it has acquired the rights to Universal Soldier, the hit movie franchise, rebooting it as a major new global television property. It will be written by Damian Kindler (Stargate, Sanctuary) and produced by FremantleMedia North America.

David Ellender, Global CEO, FremantleMedia Enterprises, said: “Universal Soldier is FME’s first foray into the sci-fi action genre, further diversifying our growing drama portfolio and underlining our reputation as one of the industry’s leading developers, co-producers and distributors of globally popular, high-quality scripted content.”

Allen Shapiro and Craig Baumgarten, who will executive produce the series, said: “We’ve long wanted to come up with a bold new way of updating Universal Soldier. We’re thrilled to team up with FremantleMedia and are sure that the millions of fans who loved the movie will now welcome it into their living rooms.”

FremantleMedia Enterprises, which acquired the rights to Universal Soldier from The IndieProd Company and Craig Baumgarten, will now take the project to international buyers.

Allan Shapiro is Chairman of TV Guide Network and TVGuide.com, which are part of a joint venture of Lionsgate, the leading next generation studio. He was also a Founder and President of Mosaic Media Group, a talent management, production and investment company. He previously served as President / CEO of The IndieProd Company, which produced numerous films and TV shows, including Universal Soldier, Air America, Blue Streak, L.A. Story and Roxanne.

Craig Baumgarten is a highly successful independent producer, whose films include Hook, Shattered Glass, The Order, Never Back Down and Universal Soldier. Prior to forming his own production company, he served as Vice President of Paramount Pictures, Executive Vice President of Columbia Pictures, a President at Lorimar and Executive Vice President at Twentieth Century Fox pictures. Some of the films he supervised during this period were the hits 9 Weeks, The Karate Kid, St Elmo’s Fire, The Abyss and Endless Love. Among his TV credits is the multi award-winning production of A Streetcar Named Desire; the highly-acclaimed CBS series Michael Hayes, starring David Caruso; and TNT’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame, starring Salma Hayek and Richard Harris.

And the announcement on “Blood & Treasure”:

From Charles Segars, the creator and executive producer of Hollywood blockbusters National Treasure and National Treasure: Book of Secrets, FremantleMedia North America and Landscape Entertainment (Medical Investigation, John Tucker Must Die) comes Blood & Treasure (working title), a rollercoaster one-hour law-enforcement drama-series that follows two brothers as they travel the world, solving crimes and unearthing some of history’s greatest secrets.With a ‘bible’ and first episode written by Rob Wright (Law & Order, Crossing Jordan, Drop Dead Diva), Blood & Treasure weaves its episodic cases around actual historical events.Blood & Treasure – which FremantleMedia Enterprises will now be taking to international buyers – forms part of FME’s on-going first-look deal with Landscape Entertainment. It is produced by Landscape Entertainment, Charles Segars and FremantleMedia North America.

David Ellender, Global CEO, FremantleMedia Enterprises, said: “The stellar team behind Blood & Treasure have created a gripping world of adventure and intrigue that will really resonate with international buyers and global audiences. Take Charles’s vision for National Treasure, Bob’s background in international co-production and cable TV and FME’s growing reputation for funding, packaging and distributing outstanding scripted content, and you have a hugely exciting proposition. Rob has written a rich compelling story that we feel is going to grip audiences the world over.”

Bob Cooper, Chairman of Landscape Entertainment, said: “This is the project we’ve been looking for ever since Landscape Entertainment first signed with FremantleMedia – a sharply written, energetic drama series that takes the talents of feature filmmakers and allows them to run riot on the small screen, entertaining and engaging audiences all over the world.”

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